Art from the eyes

This is pretty cool.  The EyeWriter is the brainchild of the Members of Free Art and Technology (FAT), OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab, the Ebeling Group and legendary LA graffiti writer, publisher and activist, TEMPTONE.  Tempt1 was diagnosed with ALS in 2003, leaving him almost completely physically paralyzed, except for this eyes.  This ignited the idea to create a low-cost, open source eye-tracking system that will allow ALS patients to draw using just the power of their eyes.  The effort is ongoing but the news portion of the site is always updated with cool things the EyeWriter can do and interesting collaborations with the EyeWriter.  The EyeWriter software has two parts — eye-tracking software designed for use with low-cost glasses, and drawing software designed for drawing with eye movements.

The eye-tracking software detects and tracks the position of a pupil from an incoming camera or video image, and uses a calibration

sequence to map the tracked eye/pupil coordinates to positions on a computer screen or projection.  The pupil tracking relies upon a

clear and dark image of the pupil. The diy glasses we designed use near-infrared leds to illuminate the eye and create a dark pupil effect.

This makes the pupil much more distinguishable and, thus, easier to track. The camera setting part of the software is designed so the image

can be adjusted with brightness and contrast to get an optimal image of the eye.

I think its great that this technology gives visual artists struck by illness a way to create, and a cool way too.

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One Comment

  1. Vera Butrimova
    Posted February 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I think this is a really cool device/technology, especially for those involved in the visual arts. A very nice touch was when they projected the created works onto the hospital walls for the passers-by to see. Maybe this could grow into becoming this multi-user art installation where people get to collectively draw an entire work with their eyes?
    I’m always paranoid about what will I do if my arm falls off or if something along those lines happens, but now I know that if anything happens, there is always a technology that will help me keep going.

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