Microsoft’s goal has always been to empower people to do more. With their latest app, GazeSpeak, they’ve opened the door for people afflicted with ALS to easier communicate with the people around them. The app helps people communicate only using the movement of their eyes, and could make a big difference in the lives of people who have had the disease for a while.
For those who don’t know, the ability to move one’s eyes is one of the last things to be affected by the disease – as a result, an app that utilizes eye functions to help communication is something that could prove exceptionally valuable. Beyond this, it’s also important to note that this app is the first tool of its kind that is affordable and simple to use. Other eye-tracking devices are bulky and expensive, while GazeSpeak only requires an iOS device.
Microsoft will be presenting this app and all of the research that came as a result of it at the Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems this May. The app will be made available on the App Store before this conference happens, and the app’s source code will be made open source for other developers who want to build on this work.