New Technique May Allow Paralyzed Patients To Talk With Their Eyes

By Amir Khan on July 27, 2012 11:48 AM EDT

A person's eyes may say a lot about them, but a new technique may allow paralyzed patients to say even more. French scientists have developed a way to allow paralyzed patients to "write" with their eyes faster and more accurately than ever before.

The secret is in an optical illusion called the "reverse phi motion," in which dots projected onto a screen appear to alternate between black and white. This illusion tricks the eyes into making smooth movements that are normally impossible. Steadying the eyes in this way would allow paralyzed patients to use an eye tracking camera to write out letters faster and more accurately.

Like Us on Facebook

Prior attempts at tracking eyes have failed because the human eye constantly moves, leading to faulty recognition by the software.

Dr. Jean Lorenceau, a French scientist, has been experimenting with the technique and told BBC News he can now write 20-30 characters per minute. In addition, the process is relatively simple to learn -- a patient could be up and running after as little as 90 minutes of training, he said.

Lorenceau is planning future experiments to test the technique on people who suffer from a motor neuron disease. Such people can typically only communicate through winking.

In addition, Lorenceau said the technique may have other applications as well.

"The discovery also provides a tool to use smooth pursuit eye movements as a pencil to draw, write, or generate a signature," he said.

© 2012 iScience Times All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

Join the Conversation

Sponsored From Around the Web

    ZergNet
Follow iScience Times
us on facebook RSS
 
us on google
 
Most Popular
INSIDE iScience Times
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
Do Dolphins Get High? BBC Cameras Catch Dolphins Chewing On Pufferfish Toxins
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
How Many Ways Can You Tie A Tie?
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
Ribbon Of Charged Particles At Solar System's Edge Acts Like A Wind Sock For Interstellar Magnetism
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet  Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
How to Turn Your Tap Water Faucet Into a Coffee Spout [VIDEO]
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
Coolest Science Photos Of 2013: From Blobfish To Two-Headed Shark, Comet ISON To Mars Selfie
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)
This Is A Scientifically-Proven Rock-Paper-Scissors Winning Strategy (But If Your Opponent Uses It Too, It's A Draw)