Low-cost glasses win award and help paralyzed artists draw with their eyes

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The Independent Culture

The innovative EyeWriter project team responsible for developing low-cost eye-tracking glasses will be the recipients of the inaugural FutureEverything award.

The EyeWriter is a collaborative project designed to enable paralyzed artists and graffiti writers to draw and create with their eyes.

Members of Free Art and Technology (FAT), OpenFrameworks and the Graffiti Research Lab - Tony Quan, Evan Roth, Chris Sugrue, Zach Lieberman, Theo Watson and James Powderly - came up with the idea for the device after American graffiti writer, social activist and publisher Tony Quan was diagnosed with ALS - a crippling disease that rendered his limbs unusable.

"Art is a tool of empowerment and social change, and I consider myself blessed to be able to create and use my work to promote health reform, bring awareness about ALS and help others" said Tony Quan, aka Tempt1.

When paired with the specialized open source software designed by the team, the EyeWriter tracks the movements of the artist's eyes. By just looking in different directions the artist can draw lines, 3D objects and shapes.

In addition to being a significant tool for paralyzed artists, the EyeWriter is cheap enough for anyone to build; the apparatus costs around $50 in parts and the computer software can be downloaded for free.

Voters from across the world chose EyeWriter from the more than 1,000 projects nominated for the FutureEverything awards.

The awards ceremony will take place at a Gala event during the FutureEverything festival to be held May 12-15 in Manchester, England.

EyeWriter will be showcased at the FutureEverything festival (a festival formally known as Futuresonic) alongside a full program including "world premieres of astonishing artworks, an explosive city-wide music program, and visionary thinkers from around the world across 4 festival strands - Art, Music, Ideas and Showcase."

More information about the ongoing project can be found at: http://www.eyewriter.org/

A full festival schedule can be found on the FutureEverything website located at: http://www.futureeverything.org/

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