Problem Definitions - The need for Affordable Assistant Technology

Allowing completely paralysed people with limited budget to communicate with others

Communication Methods for Completely Paralyzed Patients

Imagine for a moment if you will, that you wake up one day and you are completely paralyzed. How would you communicate with others in the room? How would you get your morning coffee, or breakfast for that matter? You can’t effectively say what you want so you are now at the mercy of a dietician who choose foods that are “best” for you. How can you tell them that you don’t like the taste of lemon in your tea or burnt toast? For that matter, how will you be able to communicate anything with others regarding pain levels, basic needs and anything else you have to say?

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Inexpensive Technology

With the development of computer technology hospital staff’s monotonous work with paralyzed patients is increasingly being replaced by specially developed programs. These programs perform tasks completely identical to those of an assistant - alternately showing the patient on the computer screen alphabet letters from which by blinking or other eye movements he selects the right one , thus composing words and sentences. Such programs are designed to work with different types of cameras and are often part of full-fledged software hardware systems, consisting of eye tracking devices and applications processing the captured image of the patient's eye and the text or graphic matrix.

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Eye Trackers for people

Each person tries to live a full life and care for his own health and those of people close to him. Unfortunately, a full life in the usual understanding of the term is not granted to everyone - stress and anxiety, trauma and the effects of surgical intervention, poor living conditions or bad habits, as many other causes can lead to disability. The consequences in this case are very diverse, and often cause a partial or complete loss of motor activity.

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Eye-tracking and its application in medicine

Literally, the term eye tracking (sometimes known by the name gaze tracking) means following an eye. It is a process during which specific devices determine the position of the patient's eyeballs. Depending on where the eye is directed, the system calculates the angle of view, and thus makes it possible to determine which of several objects a person looks at. Devices used for this purpose are called eye trackers.

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Eye-Trackers – price VS functionality

It is an undeniable fact: A full and healthy life is extremely important for everyone. But, unfortunately, no one is immune to diseases and conditions that can severely limit mobility. This can be caused by different joint injuries, post-stroke states, paralysis, and mental illnesses. The majority of people are exposed to such risks due to heredity, aging, habits, stress, poor diet, sleep and waking schedule, and many other reasons. Even for perfectly healthy people, there is a considerable risk of accidents or other emergencies that can cause an irreparable damage to health.

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The need for budget eye-tracking systems

For many years, the situation on the market of technologically sophisticated eye-tracking devices is not in favor of the final user. The cost of a nurse or a specialized assistant, which will help the paralyzed patient to communicate with the outside world, is high enough, but keeping him in a specialized clinic or purchase an eye-tracking system for home use will be many times more expensive. Everyone cannot afford this, and combined with a costly course of treatment and rehabilitation, it becomes even less affordable. As a result, patients are forced to suffer without communication, which introduces additional negative aspects to the disease due to frequent stress and forced isolation.

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Causes of Paralysis

Complete paralysis is understood to represent the “…loss of the ability to move one or more muscles…” according to the National Health Service (NHS) UK. There are several different classifications of paralysis ranging from a more mild paralysis which is specific to one area of the body (Localized), to an extreme full body paralysis which affects both arms and legs (Tetraplegia or quadriplegia). A person with any form of paralysis will tend to have some form of impairment in the nerves or nervous system. This article will focus mainly on complete body paralysis which can also be known as a locked in state or syndrome (LIS). Locked in Syndrome basically means that a patient may have been in a state of comatose who then wakes, but remains paralyzed although still awake and conscious without any means of generating speech or movement.

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