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EagleEyes System Allows People With Severe Disabilities To Use Computers

Advanced computer technology is opening up a new world for students at Loveland Center. Thanks to Jane Hyche from Universal Distribution in Orlando, FL, who donated the funds to purchase EagleEyes system, Loveland students with severe physical disabilities will learn computer skills to access educational opportunities by moving only their eyes.

Earlier this week, Maureen Gates, Boston College EagleEyes – Camera Mouse Specialist trained Loveland staff and students to use ‘Eagle Eyes’ and Camera Mouse.

“We are thrilled to offer this new system for our students,” said Madeline McGrail, Loveland Center’s ADT Program Manager. “EagleEyes will help students communicate, develop skills, and learn through access to never before available technologies.”

This unique electronic device slightly bigger than a video game controller, allows people to control the computer by moving only their eyes, through five electrodes placed on the person’s forehead, and around the eyes.

When the surface electrodes are placed, they track the muscle movements of the face and send the signals received from the electrodes back into the electronic controller box and the computer, transforming his eyes into a computer mouse. By focusing for a few seconds on the same spot or object on the computer screen, a single click is activated.

Loveland students, Barbara, Matthew and Erin were the first ones to try Camera Mouse and were eager and excited to participate. The Camera Mouse allows people to control the computer by moving their head, eye, lip, nose or any other part of their head they are able to control. It works through a video camera or web camera connected to the computer and focused upon the student

Matthew was especially excited to play games and see the results of his head movements such as chasing aliens.

Both access technologies function as standard mouse replacements in Windows systems.

The technology was developed at Boston College in 1994, and the Opportunity Foundation of America has distributed the systems nationwide.

“Seeing the twinkle in the eyes of our students and the smile on the faces of family and staff is indescribable,” said McGrail.

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