This Is How Tech-Assisted Computing Is Done

This Is How Tech-Assisted Computing Is Done

Sonia Zjawinski
May 24, 2010

We often don't focus enough on technology and the disabled, but it's because of many everyday gadgets that those who once felt isolated now feel a bit of social relief. One such person is Di Bédard's brother, whose movements are limited to his head due to Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Di shared on Flickr how her brother computes with his head and eyes.

The MacBook Pro is securely clamped to a tray which attaches to the wheelchair arms. The scanning camera mounts to the top of the screen and plugs into a USB port. His eyeglasses have optical reflecting dots which get stuck on the frame so the camera can precisely track the slightest head motion. Software is calibrated to transfer that head motion into knowing exactly where on screen he is looking, moves the cursor there for him, and applies a "click" action if he holds his gaze in the same spot for a few seconds.

The floating palette [on the] right side allows him to change the "click" action into a double click, copy, paste, cut, save, etc... or call up the floating onscreen keypad, so he can look at the letters to type. This gives him full run of the MAC OS, standard apps, internet, email, movie player, etc. Functional computing for someone with very limited range of motion.

Images: Di Bédard

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