Drive with your eyes! Eye tracking wheelchairs for quadraplegics

Patrick Joyce, who suffers from motor neurone disease, has received a $196,000 prize from Hackaday after inventing a unique 3D printed mobility device. The Eyedrivomatic technology, developed in collaboration with Steve Evans and David Hopkinson, facilitates unprecedented eye-controlled wheelchair movement.

196k-prize-3d-printed-wheelchair-invention-1By Benedict, Nov 27, 2015

3D printing is used for a wide range of medical applications, many of which can help disabled people to live their lives with fewer limitations. Prosthetics and implants, for example, are some of the more common medical uses of 3D printing technology, and the impact of these 3D printed devices on the lives of patients is significant. But despite the best efforts of some designers, 3D printing is yet to have a truly significant impact on wheelchair technology.

Earlier this year, we reported on an ambitious 3D printing project by Patrick Joyce, 46, who created a 3D printed electronic device enabling wheelchair users who have lost movement in their arms to control their chairs with eye movements.

Back in April, Joyce had just finished his second prototype of the 3D printed mobility device, which connects electric wheelchairs to an Eyegaze device. Eyegaze is a computing tool for disabled people which allows users to operate a computer using only eye movements. Currently, the technology is only designed to allow users to perform basic computational tasks, which do not include controlling a wheelchair.

Joyce’s Eyedrivomatic device, which he designed in collaboration with filmmaker David Hopkinson and friend and fellow MND sufferer Steve Evans, uses an Arduino to connect the Eyegaze technology to an electric wheelchair. Users can then use the established eye-recognition technology to send a signal to the Eyedrivomatic 3D printed “hand”, which grasps the wheelchair’s joystick and can thus control the chair’s movement.

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Eyedrivomatic HACKADAY PRIZE 2015. The Eyedrivomatic system takes advantage of existing eye tracking technology to allow users to drive their chairs again – using only their eyes. It’s a low cost, open source way to give mobility back to people who thought they had lost it forever.

Eyedrivomatic Build Instructions, © Patrick Joyce 2015, licenced under creative commons.

Also see
Is Eyedrivomatic for Me? Eyedrivomatic
The gaze-controlled wheelchair that won the Hackaday prize
Eyegaze, Communicate with the world using the power of your eyes LC Technologies Inc.
3D Printing Helps in Creation of Eye-Movement Controlled Wheelchair For The Paralyzed

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