Blink is an assistive communication tool developed for individuals living with paralysis or Locked-In Syndrome (LIS).
LIS is a medical condition in which a patient is conscious but unable to communicate verbally due to complete bodily paralysis. However, the ability to perform eye movements (gaze, blinking, etc) is spared. For those with LIS unable to communicate, survival rates are low. Yet effective communication techniques can improve survival rates up to 80%.
Most communication tools for LIS patients cost tens of thousands of dollars, and are rarely covered by insurance. With this in mind, we set out to build a tool able to run on any commodity laptop using only a webcam, providing an easy-to-use platform for basic communication.
Our primary design goal was to transform image processing and computer vision into a simple, self-configuring communication app navigated solely with eye blinks and able to run on low-resolution webcams. While this leads to intentionally simple site design, it requires a deep code base with complex configuration and timing logic.
Key features include:
- Customizable eye, pupil, brow and mouth tracking to give a range of interactive options depending on the severity of paralysis, utilizing clmtrackr.js
- Automatic calibration to personalize responsiveness to each user's unique range of motion and abilities
- Multiple keyboard layouts to accommodate personal preferences
- Autocomplete and next-word prediction capacities which learn over time, optimizing efficiency and saving as many "keystrokes" (blinks) as possible
- Chat and social networking features to connect users with each other
For more insight into LIS, watch (https://www.ted.com/talks/kitra_cahana_my_father_locked_in_his_body_but_soaring_free) or listen (http://www.npr.org/2015/01/09/375928581/locked-man).
Project Members: Iris Chang, Justin Isaf, Dane Tomseth