Thursday, March 25, 2010 | 5:01am
New Device Helps Quadriplegic Graffiti Artist Once Again Draws With His Eyes
Inspired by his case, Group of Hackers and Developers create EyeWriter which uses eye tracking software to create art all for about $50
Los Angeles-based graffiti artist Tony Quan has been given a new lease on the life he’s always loved despite suffering from a debilitating disease. In 2003, Quan was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease which has paralyzed virtually every muscle in his body except for his eyes. While battling the disease has been tough on Quan its been his inability to create which has been the hardest to deal with.
Inspired by Quan’s case, Zach Lieberman of the Graffiti Research Lab and a group of hackers and developers from Free Art and Technology, OpenFrameworks and the Ebeling Group have created a device built off eye-tracking technology to help Quan draw again. The device allows the quadriplegic graffiti artist to continue making art using only his eyes for about the cost of an iPod shuffle.
Lieberman told NPR he and his colleagues have a do-it-yourself kit for building an EyeWriter that starts with a pair of ordinary sunglasses you can buy from a street vendor.
“Then we assembled a kind of wire frame that holds a Web cam, a small camera that we’ve mounted close to the eye,” he explains. “We’ve written software that tracks the eye, and then we calibrate with [Quan's] eye movements and the computer screen.”
Quan can draw lines and color within them.
“But he can plot points. And from plotting points, create letters. And from creating letters, create words. And then color the words, shade the words, extrude them in 3-D, add different features,” Lieberman says.
Although graffiti-writing with the EyeWriter is far slower than using a can of spray paint, I’m sure Quan is just happy to be back to creating the art he’s always loved.
via: Mare 139