The Eyes Say It All: A Low-Cost Communication Device for Patients with ALS

Solomon, Victoria [Browse]
Senior thesis
48 pages


Verma, Naveen [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Electrical Engineering [Browse]
Class year
Restrictions note
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note
Eye-controlled augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices offer a voice to people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) who have lost the ability to speak on their own. Such technologies are especially important for ALS patients who no longer have the motor control necessary to write or type by hand. Currently available technologies have two major drawbacks: large size and high financial cost. While Medicare and other insurers do cover some of the costs for dedicated speech-generating devices, they offer no funding for non-dedicated speech-generating devices that serve additional functions. In this collaboration with the Technology Against ALS Foundation, we designed an eye tracker for a portable non-dedicated AAC device that patients will be able to purchase for less than $200 (USD). This paper presents both an overview of the AAC system and the experimental hardware design for the eye tracker— including an emitter, a receiver, and a mount. Design considerations for the entire system and eye-tracking subsystem include safety, cost, portability, comfort, power consumption, and usability.

Supplementary Information