Imagine for a moment having lost your ability to speak and write – your ability to communicate with your loved ones, gone. Simple tasks you once took for granted are now difficult to accomplish on your own, and you have no way to express your complex thoughts or actively engage with others. This is the daily reality of many people suffering from ALS, Rett syndrome, stroke, traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries or paralysis.
For nearly a decade now, Tobii Dynavox has devoted its efforts to the research and development of groundbreaking assistive technology for those with communication and mobility impairments. They have enabled people to socialize and converse, and most importantly, to lead more independent lives.
Eyesight – The solution
Shakespeare said that the eyes are the window to the soul. With this technology, Tobii Dynavox has turned all touch gestures, click types and side swipes into actionable commands, controlled entirely with the eyes. Someone who once could not form words, can now use their eyes to speak for them and let their soul shine.
Nina Muhoden, a Swedish entrepreneur, author and therapist, has been completely paralyzed since the age of 17. Through her strength and perseverance, she has continued her education and gone on to lead an exceptionally full life. Nina switched from a head mouse solution to Tobii PCEye in 2011 and has never looked back. Unlike previous devices that might put a physical strain on neck or voice, the PCEye allows her to control her computer just by moving her eyes.
An entrepreneurial spark in Stockholm
The idea of eye tracking first came to John Elvesjö while working at Stockholm’s Royal Institute of Technology. Seeing a real market need where no solution existed and an opportunity to dramatically improve people’s lives, he decided to invent it. Working together with Henrik Eskilsson and Mårten Skogö, they built the foundations of Tobii Technology in 2001, selling their first eye tracking device only one year later.
Today, Tobii has a market presence in 60 countries and is recognized as a global leader in eye-tracking and accessibility solutions. Their products have been featured in Microsoft’s 2014 Super Bowl ad, featuring the former NFL star with ALS, Steve Gleason and were central to the winning project of Microsoft’s first annual hackathon in August 2014.
The Future of Eye-Tracking
In 2014, Tobii merged with DynaVox, a leading provider of speech-generating devices and symbol-adapted special education software for people with cognitive communication disabilities such as autism, aphasia and developmental delay. The merger allowed Tobii to further expand its Assistive Technology division and solidify its reputation as an international leader in this important field.
Tobii’s eye tracking products are also being applied to many other fields, including giving surgeons hands-free access to data during operations, creating educational tools that provide interactive learning solutions, and even marketing and gaming industry solutions for more immersive experiences.
To learn more about Tobii DynaVox, their amazing products and success stories, you can visit their official website: www.tobii.com/en/