Eye gaze technology may be beneficial for individuals with little or no movement of their limbs. Examples of such users are those who have suffered brainstem stroke, MS or…
Eye gaze technology may be beneficial for individuals with little or no movement of their limbs. Examples of such users are those who have suffered brainstem stroke, MS or high‐level quadriplegia (Cook & Hussey, 2002). Its advantage is that it is a direct access method, with no intermediary steps involved in making a selection, thus, potentially speeding access to applications the user requires (eg. communication and environmental control). Using an eye gaze system may also be preferable for those capable of using an indirect method such as a switch accessible scanning interface. Recent advances in the technology, including demands from clinicians, clients and families, raised awareness, and independent evaluation sources such as the COGAIN (communication by gaze interaction) project have stimulated a competitive commercial market for such systems. In the UK, a number of devices are available through different suppliers. It is vital that careful assessment is conducted prior to choosing an gaze interaction system, an example being that a particular system may not accommodate a large amount of involuntary head movement, such as with athetoid CP. The same system however, may be appropriate for someone with a lesser degree of involuntary movement, as found with spinal cord injury. It is therefore important that the assessment process should include careful consideration of the individuals' strengths, identification of goals and tasks, the environment in which they are to be accomplished and identification of assistive technology options (Aigner & Blalock, 1999). This paper presents two case studies; one describes the assessment and provision of eye gaze technology for a young woman born with severe physical disability and the other for an adult with acquired brain injury.
The EPOC neuroheadset is a commercially available device that allows game players to control a computer using their facial expressions or their thoughts. This paper aims…
The EPOC neuroheadset is a commercially available device that allows game players to control a computer using their facial expressions or their thoughts. This paper aims to examine whether it has the potential to be used as an input for assistive technology (AT) devices.
Two experiments were conducted. In the first, 12 non‐impaired subjects used the neuroheadset to control a computer with their facial expressions. They also used a simple system of two head switches for comparison. In the second experiment, three non‐impaired subjects were trained to use the neuroheadset to control a computer with their thoughts.
In the first experiment, the neuroheadset was slower and less accurate than the head switches (p<0.05), and was also harder to use. It is unlikely to be preferred to existing methods of accessing AT for those that retain a small amount of head movement. In the second experiment, by the end of the week, all three subjects achieved accuracy rates greater than chance.
All subjects were non‐impaired, and the sample size in the second experiment was small. Further research should concentrate on the second experiment, using larger sample sizes and impaired subjects.
The EPOC neuroheadset is substantially cheaper than similar specialist devices, and has the potential to allow those with no voluntary muscle control to access AT with their thoughts.
The results of these two experiments show that the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset can be used as an interface for non‐impaired users to transfer information to a computer, which could in turn be used to control AT.