Forget ice buckets — this device helps ALS patients by translating eye motion into speech

Last year, social media practically blew up with videos of folks dumping buckets of ice over their heads. While it was fun to watch or take part in, it wasn’t done all in jest, but instead to raise awareness for a debilitating disease called ALS, or Lou Gherig’s Disease. Sometimes patients with ALS suffer from “locked-in syndrome” in which they are unable to move or communicate verbally as a result of voluntary muscle paralysis. In these cases, oftentimes the only body parts that are functional are the eyes.

While a few eyewear devices have been created to assist ALS patients with locked-in syndrome, they can often be costly and difficult to use. But there’s at least one startup out there that’s working to change things. Isreal-based outfit EyeControl is offering hope to ALS patients and their families with a more affordable and more practical eye-based input device.

Glasses_prototype2

EyeControl

The company’s EyeControl glasses will work with a smartphone app to enable true text-to-speech communication with patients. A patient will be able to produce an alert sound when he or she needs help, choose from 15 pre-existing sentences, and even create unique sentences using a virtual board based on the alphabet.

How is this possible? The glasses come equipped with an infrared camera, and use a small integrated computer to identify a patient’s blinks and eye movements. These movements are then interpreted by the computer, and translated into predetermined audio clips that can be transmitted to a smartphone via Bluetooth.

For example, if a locked-in syndrome sufferer was asked “Are you ready for bed?” and moving their eyes upwards meant yes, the camera would detect where the user’s eyes were looking, and interpret the response accordingly, the company explained in a press release.

EyeControl creators have developed a working prototype that is pending patent approval. So far, the device can translate in English and Hebrew, but the company plans on releases more languages in the future. The company has launched an Indiegogo campaign in order to raise the $30,000 needed for additional development and production costs, and after just two days, it has already received over $13,000 in funding.

Emerging Tech

Regular Wi-Fi can accurately detect bombs, chemicals, and weapons in bags

Surveillance cameras and bag searches have become commonplace when it comes to security in public venues. But researchers may have found a different way to detect suspicious items: regular Wi-Fi.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Mobile

Sixth public beta of iOS 12 still lacks one key feature

At this year's Worldwide Developer Conference, Apple unveiled its latest operating system, iOS 12. From app updates to group FaceTime, ARKit 2.0, and more, here are all the new features in iOS 12.
Mobile

Galaxy Note 9's screen scores highest-ever rating on display tests

The Galaxy Note 9 is here, and it's Samsung's most powerful phone to date, with an updated processor, and a brand-new S Pen, and much more. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Galaxy Note 9.
Smart Home

Get the support you deserve at work in one of the best office chairs

Sitting at the office all day can be tough on more than just your back. Check out our picks for the best office chairs, whether you're in the market for something basic or a bit more luxurious.
Gaming

How to connect a Nintendo Switch controller to your PC

Nintendo's Switch controllers, including the Joy-Cons and the aptly titled Pro Controller, use Bluetooth, which makes them compatible with your PC. Here's how to start using them for PC gaming.
Emerging Tech

Buying on a budget? Here’s all the best tech you can snag for $25 or less

We live in a world where you can get a cheeseburger for $1, a functioning computer for $5, and thousands of HD movies for $10 -- so it stands to reason that you should be able to pick up some pretty sweet gear for $25.
Emerging Tech

Science says waste beer could help us live on Mars

Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder have developed a new super-insulating gel, created from beer waste, which could one day be used for building greenhouse-like habitats on Mars.
Emerging Tech

Engineers have made a new type of lithium battery that won’t explode

While statistically rare, the lithium-ion batteries used in mobile devices have been known to burst into flames. Researchers from University of Michigan have been working to change that.
Emerging Tech

Genetically engineered bacteria paint microscopic masterpieces

By engineering E. coli bacteria to respond to light, scientists at the University of Rome have guided it like tiny drones toward patterns that depict Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk’s Boring Company wants to dig a tunnel to Dodger Stadium

Elon Musk's Boring Company wants to build a high-speed transportation tunnel connecting Dodger Stadium to a nearby Metro station. The system would run 150-mph passenger pods between the stadium and a terminus to the west.
Emerging Tech

Watch as a ‘lifeguard drone’ rescues a swimmer struggling at sea

These days, drones are finding a range of roles in a myriad of fields. Lifeguards, for example, are making use of the drone's ability to quickly deploy flotation devices while also offering an eye in the sky to survey the scene.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? Here are the best drones on the market right now

To help you navigate the increasingly large and ever-changing landscape of consumer UAVs, here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.