Eye-Tracking Wheelchair Control Design Wins Hackaday Prize

Arduino Biohacking Energy & Sustainability Science
Eye-Tracking Wheelchair Control Design Wins Hackaday Prize
Hackaday judges announce Eyedrivomatic as the grand prize winning team. Photography by David Scheltema

This past weekend Eyedrivomatic won the Hackaday Prize, a contest which called for Makers to build a project that would effect positive change in the world. The Eyedrivomatic is an Arduino Uno based system that augments eye tracking software to physically control a motorized wheelchair. The winning team of Patrick Joyce, Steve Evans, and David Hopkinson get to choose whether they want to go to space or take the cash equivalent of $196,883. This project is especially compelling because two of the team members — Joyce and Evans — use this device to control their own motorized wheelchairs.

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How it works

A software package called Eyegaze enables subtle eye movements to control special computer software. Most commonly this is used for text-to-speech technology. Eyedrivomatic extends the functionality of the Eyegaze software package. It allows users to control their motorized wheelchairs in the same way they interact with Eyegaze.

The hardware build of the project is an Arduino Uno connected to a relay shield and a servo controller shield. A 3D printed enclosure aligns the servos to behave as a joystick control to the wheelchair for manual control. A sketch loaded on the Arduino coordinates the eye movements from Eyedrivomatic with movement of the two servos.

The project is open source with STL files for 3D printing and source code for the Arduino.

Best Product

Reinier van der Lee’s Vinduino won the Best Product category. His system of devices monitors water levels in crops, with a specific focus on vinyards. Of course, the Vinduino can easily be deployed in any field where irrigation needs to be monitored.

To make the cut for the best product, contestants had to enter three copies of their device. Making multiple copies of a device suggests that it is designed for manufacturing.

The Rest of the Pack

The OpenBionics team talking about their 3D printable prothetic hand.
The OpenBionics team talks about their 3D printable prothetic hand.

OpenBionics, a 3D printable prosthetic hand, came in second place and will receive a Full Spectrum 36″×24″ CO2 Laser Cutter or $10,000 cash. Light Electric Utility Vehicle took home third place and can choose between either the collection of an Othermill, Taz 5 3D printer, Large X-Carve, and a Grizzly Bench Lathe or a cash prize of $10,000. Gas Sensor for Emergency Workers finished in fourth place and receives either a trip to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, or a cash prize of $5,000. And DOLpi rounded out the winners and gets to choose between a trip to Shenzhen, China, or a cash prize of $5,000.

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I love to tinker and write about electronics. My days are spent building projects and working as a Technical Editor for MAKE.

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