Wheelchair: Not Impossible - Watch out! This Inexpensive Gadget Lets You Steer Wheelchairs With Your Eyes

UK researchers create an affordable add-on that attaches to wheelchairs alongside a laptop, allowing users to drive with their eyes.
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UK researchers create an affordable add-on that attaches to wheelchairs alongside a laptop, allowing users to drive with their eyes.
eye controlled wheelchair

For those without the use of both their arms and legs, getting around, even in a wheelchair, isn't always easy. Researchers have managed to develop an easier way for wheelchair users to steer and get around, and it's super-inexpensive.

Aldo Faisal of Imperial College London worked with a team to create a device that, along with a laptop, can be attached to a wheelchair and give the user the ability to steer with their eyes. The technology isn't perfect, though. There is a delay between the eyes' movements and the chair's, and the user cannot look around at other objects while driving the wheelchair.

"Our software can tell the difference between looking at someone using a coffee machine, and wanting to walk over to that coffee machine," Faisal told New Scientist.

The system works by using two cameras, one for each eye, to pass the information from the eye's movements to the laptop. The laptop then determines which direction to move in, and how far.

So far, the system has been tested on people without physical disabilities, and researchers found the participants were able to move around a crowded building quicker and with fewer mistakes than other current eye-tracking technologies.

"Our technology can be crap and cheap because all the smartness is in the software," says Faisal.

They hope to have the technology ready for sale in three years.