New technology enables non-verbal people to communicate with eyes

Posted at 6:54 PM, Dec 16, 2012

HOLLADAY, Utah - New technology is allowing people with special needs to communicate with their eyes. The state of the art computer-based system opens up conversation between the speaking and non-speaking worlds.

The Eagle Eyes computer system enables people who are non-verbal to express their emotions and control words through their eyes.

"The Eagle Eyes project was founded by Professor Gibbs, a computer science professor at Boston College," said Chip Hopkins with Olympus High School.

Using a series of wires and simulators placed on the face and a computer, users can play games, figure out cognitive thinking problems and even show emotion. Experts say it's breakthrough technology that gives people with special needs the sense of independence.

"It's so good for our students to be able to activate things themselves to make choices, explore preferences," Hopkins said.

There are 128 Eagle Eyes systems worldwide. One of the two systems in Utah is located at Olympus High School.

Whitney Jasper is an Olympus student who, with the help of trained peers, is working on vision movement by controlling a computer mouse with her eyes to click on specific pictures that then animate a graphic with audible sound.

"The students here get to interact with typically developing peers and they engage very well together," Hopkins said.