I have been blessed to be provided the industry standard in eyegaze technology. A self contained touch screen PC with infrared cameras, wifi, bluetooth, web camera and cell phone. Bundled with communication and environmental control software, it is a powerful tool that I rely on day and night to be my voice in the real and virtual world.
This is provided to me at no cost by the VA because ALS qualifies me to be 100% service connected. The cost however to the VA (and American taxpayer) is $15, 000. This puts the device out of reach for most of the people who would benefit the most from this essential gear.
It is also unfortunate that the hardware itself is generations old, quite under powered and the software is buggy and incomplete.
I spent the last 8 years of my 3 decade career on software quality assurance and process improvement. It is obvious to me that resources and a commitment to usability have diminished over time for this device.
It is primarily for these two reasons (cost and usability) that I have chosen as my final career project to use my experience, skills, time and resources to make gaze technology as good as it can be and as affordable as possible.
Fortunately I will be standing on the shoulders of modern operating systems and platforms, the DIY communities like Gazegroup.org, open source projects from groups like Cambridge University Inference Group and websites like bltt.org
I am also blessed to have an amazing community of family and friends to support me in this en devour. The http://1blinkequalsyes.com Kickstarter is our first step in realizing this vision. In the first 5 days we exceeded our first funding milestone and are now stretching for enough funding to pull together a first iteration of a complete system.
My deepest gratitude to Harley, Pete, Hamil and the campaign backers for executing and funding this critical first step.
Please pass along this post and/or the Kickstarter site to anyone that might be interested in supporting this en devour.