Since the 1990s, people with conditions such as Motor Neuron Disease (MND) used gaze technology to control 2D desktop environments and to communicate using visual keyboards. Typically, users guide a cursor with their eyes, staring at objects for a time to emulate a mouse click. However, this manner is too laborious and cannot match the speed and accuracy of real-time 3D games, according to Vickers, the lead researcher of the project.
The developments are “hugely important”, according to Mick Donegan, COGAIN partner who works with severely disabled children and adults at Oxford-based charity, the ACE Centre. He explains that enabling the disabled to express themselves and engage with people in ways that they can not experience in real life can have a positive effect on their self-esteem and motivation.