Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The EyeWriter Initiative

A couple of weeks ago I attended Ignite NYC IX where I heard a short presentation from Zach Lieberman.  This particular Ignite event was part of Internet Week and featured a number of speakers talking on new technologies that have been developed.

Zach spoke primarily on the EyeWriter Initiative that he helped develop. The EyeWriter Initiative is a low-cost eye-tracking apparatus and custom software that allows graffiti writers and artists with paralysis resulting from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to draw using only their eyes.

Members of the Initiative teamed-up with a LA graffiti writer, publisher and activist, named Tony Quan, aka TEMPTONE. Tony was diagnosed with ALS in 2003, a disease which has left him almost completely physically paralyzed… except for his eyes. The international team is working together to create a low-cost, open source eye-tracking system that will allow ALS patients to draw using just their eyes. The long-term goal is to create a professional/social network of software developers, hardware hackers, urban projection artists and ALS patients from around the world who are using local materials and open source research to creatively connect and make eye art.

“Art is a tool of empowerment and social change, and I consider myself blessed to be able to create and use my work to promote health reform, bring awareness about ALS and help others.”

– Tony Quan, aka TemptOne

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