The EyeWriter

I’m thrilled to share the EyeWriter with you all:

Behold the latest ocular assault weapon from the Graffiti Research Lab, openFrameworks, The Fat Lab and The Ebeling Group: The EyeWriter. It is a low-cost eye-tracking apparatus + custom software that allows graffiti writers and artists with paralysis resulting from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to draw using only their eyes.

The goal of the hardware component of the EyeWriter project is to make the most simple and inexpensive eye-tracking head-set possible to use with the “EyeWriter” software suite. Obviously, there are numerous ways to make eye-tracking hardware. Many of these designs, especially those produced for academic research projects (Open Eyes ), have already been published openly on the internet.

Our functional design specifications are as follows:

1. The EyeWriter should be as inexpensive as possible
2. The fabrication and assembly of the system should require only common hand tools
3. Whenever possible components and parts should be available for purchase locally versus online
4. The camera should produce 640 x 480 NTSC video
5. The camera should be sensitive to near-field IR light
6. The camera should not auto-iris (or auto-iris should be disabled in the camera’s driver).
7. IR LEDs should be used to illuminate the pupil

Beyond that its up to you… this instruction set details a solderless variation of the EyeWriter that uses a hacked PS3 Eye and a pair of stunnas we bought on Venice Beach and suggests other possible EyeWriter configurations.

Yes, that’s right, watch TemptOne tag buildings (with light) even though he can only move his eyes. We live in the future, and this project makes me feel so warm inside. The whole project is open source.

4 thoughts on “The EyeWriter

  1. KidIron says:

    I just have to say it, I cried after watching this.
    Great work.

    I wish I could say more, but I think the waterworks will start again if I do.

  2. alias pail says:

    i agree, this was a very touching emotional story. a tear. it’s beautiful to see what peaceful imagination and technology can do.

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

View more articles by Becky Stern


Ready to dive into the realm of hands-on innovation? This collection serves as your passport to an exhilarating journey of cutting-edge tinkering and technological marvels, encompassing 15 indispensable books tailored for budding creators.

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).