Students from the Brigham Young University (BYU) have come up with a really innovative gadget that can serve as a useful tool for the disabled that costs a whole lot less than the available commercial alternatives available in the market.
Several engineering students from the university teamed up with EyeTech Digital Systems to create an inexpensive all-in-one eye tracking system. The premise behind the collaboration was to come up with a computer system that the user can control simply with movements from his or her eyes. If you've ever heard of the Tobii PCEye, then this is the type of device that these students were aiming for with their project. The PCEye does a really good job but it costs $6,900, which is a steal for what it can do but is still a pretty steel amount to fork out.
The BYU students who took part in the project were Clint ollins, Nathan Christensen, Scott Rice, Vicky Lee, and Bryan Johnson, with Jedediah Nieveen as the captain and Greg Bishop as the team's faculty coach. The project was actually a capstone project where students are partnered up with real clients to come up with solutions to real-world engineering problems.
The final product from the collaboration was a device that resembled a thick tablet PC, which is equipped with a touch screen and runs on Windows 7, with the eye-tracking system already built into it. Most systems with similar capabilities are priced at a hefty $14,000 (or $6,900 like the Tobii PCEye mentioned above), but the students were able to build their device using cheaper, readily obtainable parts for $1,500.
The main goal of the project was to develop a device that would be useful for disabled people. However, the applications of the device are not limited to that as it can also be used later on in different fields, such as in research, advertising, and even in gaming.
Team leader Jedediah Nieveen says of the project: "A lot of times in school, you just work problems out of books. But this allowed us to take what we learned and apply it to something in real life, something that can help a lot of people, and that's really helped me."
Indeed, an amazing feat.
Source: Brigham Young University