Skip to main content

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

EyeControl Indiegogo Campaign
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.


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.

Nicolette Emmino
Nicolette is a technology writer, but wishes the days of paperback books and print newspapers were still thriving. She’s a…
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more