Lumin-i: How eye tracking turns communication barriers into bridges
Just today, Smart Eye announced our partnership with assistive technology developer Smartbox. Apart from resulting in an incredible product and opening up a fascinating new market for Smart Eye, I can’t help but feel a little extra proud of this collaboration because of what it represents: the power of communication.
At its best, communication gives us the opportunity to solve almost any problem, grow meaningful relationships to other people, or come up with the next great idea that can change the world. As social beings, communication is the basis of all human interaction and one of the most important tools we have for influencing our own lives.
So, when our ability to communicate is limited, it can limit almost every aspect of life. Just like good communication can open doors, people who struggle with communication can feel like those same doors remain closed to them.
My hope and belief is that this collaboration between Smart Eye and Smartbox, resulting in Lumin-i, could be the key to a freer, more independent life for many of those people.
Lumin-i is a communication aid that uses Smart Eye’s AI-based eye tracking to help people with limited mobility express their thoughts, needs, ideas and feelings through their eye movements. By removing the barriers of communication, Lumin-i helps people with disabilities live more independently.
Up until now, there has been very little competition on the market for assistive technologies, resulting in fewer options for users. By partnering with Smartbox and developing Lumin-i, we are able to offer a high-quality alternative, giving people the chance to choose the communication aid that suits their individual needs best.
This is a market that is new to Smart Eye, but the idea of using eye tracking to help people communicate more freely goes all the way back to the founding of the company.
On a Sunday morning in 1999, Mats Krantz called up his son, Martin, to tell him about a dream he had just had. Mats Krantz’s wife suffered from a frozen shoulder, causing her to experience terrible pain when using a computer mouse. But in the dream, she was able to operate the computer using just her eye movements. A few months later, Mats and Martin Krantz founded Smart Eye – setting out to make the dream a reality.
Since then, using technology to facilitate communication is part of Smart Eye’s DNA. This is part of the reason why I’m so excited about our partnership with Smartbox: through this collaboration, we have an opportunity to really contribute to improving people’s quality of life. By helping people communicate more freely, we are continuing down the path laid out when Smart Eye was founded, over 20 years ago. And this is just the beginning of that journey.
Solmaz Shahmehr is VP & Head of Research Instruments at Smart Eye, leading provider of AI-based eye tracking systems to research institutes all over the world.