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GT3D Device Lets You E-mail With Your Eyes

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Researchers are hoping the GT3D will offer the disabled new abilities at a low cost.
Researchers are hoping the GT3D will offer the disabled new abilities at a low cost.

Bionic devices that allow people with disabilities to use a computer are a tremendous development. The technologies allow users to perform digital tasks, like sending an e-mail or surfing the web, through eye movement. But many of the current options are prohibitively expensive.

Now researchers at the Imperial College of London have invented a new device, made from off-the-shelf materials, that costs only around $60.

Dubbed the GT3D, the equipment is made from two video game console cameras that attach to glasses. The cameras snap repeated pictures of the eyes, noting where the pupil is pointed and calibrating exactly where a person is looking on a screen.

According to PhysOrg, GT3D's inventors showed users playing the classic video game Pong with only their eyes. Six of the subjects had never used their eyes as a control input before, but still landed scores within 20 percent of an able-bodied person after 10 minutes of using the device.

Using only one watt of power, the GT3D can now transmit data wirelessly through Wi-Fi or a USB into any Windows or Linux computer.

Dr. Aldo Faisal, an Imperial College of London lecturer overseeing the project, has noted that the GT3D achieves several landmark goals. "We have built a 3D eye tracking system hundreds of times cheaper than commercial systems," Faisal told PhysOrg, "and used it to build a real-time brain machine interface that allows patients to interact more smoothly and more quickly than existing invasive technologies that are tens of thousands of times more expensive."

Similar bionic technologies include devices that let users paint with their eyes and control a tablet with their eyes.