I recently was introduced to an amazing product – the BLiNK eye-movement computer controller. This wireless, lightweight, portable, clip-on device allows someone to control their computer or tablet using just eye movements – no need for a keyboard, mouse, trackball, or touch screen. Imagine how this hands-free device can help physically impaired and challenged patients – or even non-handicapped folks!
BLiNK was developed by Devon Greco, who reports that in early 2009 his father, who has been his role model and business partner, was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) – otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. This immobilizing disease changed the family’s lives forever. As muscles began to fade, Devon’s father had to be connected to a ventilator. Regular communication became impossible. Devon’s father, who had spent so much time on his computer, was no longer able to operate one. It became Devon’s mission to find or create a technology to help him control a computer, to be able to type messages, write e-mail, and control devices such as lights, temperature, and television.
Devon had always been interested in all types of technologies and learned electronics at a very early age. At 15, he became certified to work on computers and started a computer repair company. Later he became technical advisor at his father’s company, developing a system that monitors and interprets brain wave patterns to promote positive physiological changes through feedback.
Although his father had lost control of speech and his body, he still had control of his eyes. So Devon started researching available eye tracking equipment. He learned that there were a number of devices on the market but found them to be overly complicated. Commercial communications systems were bulky, confusing, and pricey – up to $20,000.
After considerable research, testing various eye tracking technologies, collaboration with optics experts, and making advancements to existing components, BLiNK was born.
BLiNK is a one-of-a-kind wireless eyewear device that contains a tiny camera and a special invisible light source that tracks where the wearer’s eyes are looking. BLiNK is portable, lightweight, and clips on to any eyewear. And best of all, it’s available for just under $200. Prototypes are being tested now and units should be available toward the end of this year.
For regular and physically challenged users alike, BLiNK is a real time-saver. Users can zip through regular computing tasks, selecting items on screen rapidly and with great precision, and even multi-task much faster.
BLiNK links wirelessly to a computer or tablet in seconds. Eye movements control a cursor just like with a mouse, trackball, or touch screen. Blinking “clicks” on the target.
I have noted that vision care professionals today are often concerned and involved with patients’ overall health and well being. For physically challenged patients, patients who suffer from muscular diseases or catastrophic injury, and even non-handicapped, BLiNK can be a valuable addition to the arsenal we use to promote patients’ health and well being.
To find out more about BLiNK and follow its progress, go to www.blinktracker.com
Tell me what you think.
Be visionary with Gulden!
Information for this blog post was used with permission from BlinkTracker.com and Devon Greco.
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