Bio · Digital Media · Human-ities · Performativity · Sonic/Musical · Technology

The Eyeharp: A Gaze-Controlled Musical Instrument

Most people would agree that expressing yourself through music is a relieving and liberating experience. Some people due to physical disability are not able to play any existing musical instrument. One case could be people with complete paralysis resulting from Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis that can only move their eyes. Nowadays these people are able communicate using new technologies. Such examples are eye tracking and head tracking systems that provide the user with the ability to write, talk, access the internet, play computer games, draw e.t.c. Nevertheless there is no available musical instrument explicitly designed for having an eye tracking or head tracking device as the only input.

The main goal of the EyeHarp was to create the first gaze or head controlled musical instrument with similar expressive potentials to a traditional musical instrument. Zacharias Vamvakousis was inspired by the EyeWriter, 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. Interacting with other people through music or creating new musical compositions might not only improve the quality of life of people with disabilities, but also be part of a rehabilitation process.

Text and Image via LULLCEC

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