A communication device for individuals with Locked-In Syndrome, has been launched in the UK, enabling patients to once again communicate with their loved ones and carers in a simple, intuitive, and innovative way.
Locked-In syndrome is a condition in which patients have full cognitive ability but are unable to move or speak, rendering communication nearly impossible. It’s a rare neurological disorder in which there is complete paralysis of all voluntary muscles except for the ones that control the movements of the eyes, making communication possible through eye movements or blinking. Conditions that can lead to the state of being locked-in include ALS and other motor neuron diseases (MND), stroke and traumatic brain injury.
The EyeControl is said to be the world’s first AI-powered, wearable eye tracking device, enabling 24/7 immediate communication, both for emergency and social purposes.
Or Retzkin, CEO of EyeControl said: “What makes the EyeControl unique is that it has the ability to provide the user with independently controlled communication." We aim to create a simple to use and competitively priced device to give a voice back to the voiceless.
“The EyeControl introduces a new reality of accessibility for locked-in individuals to communicate with their friends, family, and carers, transforming everyday tasks for both users and their carers. Individuals are now able to communicate immediately upon waking, while in the bathroom, indoors, outdoors and even while travelling – situations that alternative devices have not been able to accommodate. We hope to inspire a new sense of independence for these individuals.”
Six people per day are diagnosed with MND in the UK, and up to 5000 adults in the UK are affected at any one time. Whilst it is fairly uncommon, it is an issue that is widely known about, having been brought to light largely by Stephen Hawking and through the viral Ice Bucket Challenge.
EyeControl is on a mission to provide a voice to as many locked-in individuals as possible and as such, has launched a crowdfunding campaign with the aim of sponsoring devices for individuals with ALS in the UK. The company will match all support from the public to ensure that as many people as possible are gifted an EyeControl device, while ensuring that no cost is incurred by patients.
Or Retzkin added: “We are excited to be working with local communities across the UK and with local professional organisations who are nominating members of their community to receive a device. We also hope to raise awareness of the importance of giving these patients the independence they gain through communication devices.”