SayEye

Communicating through the eyes

Year:
Ongoing
Expertise:
Healthcare
Tecnologie e strumenti:
Salute e cura
Fondazione TOG
OpenDot

SayEye is a software suite based on the eye-tracking system that enables those with complex neurological diseases to communicate with their eyes. SayEye is a tool designed both for communication sessions for rehabilitation purposes and to facilitate communication between caregivers and care-receivers on a daily basis.

Thanks to an app that can be downloaded to one's own device, the caregiver can create content immediately, ensuring that communication runs smoothly and controlling operation without ever interfering. The system allows them to see precisely what the care-receiver is looking at and for how long, and to calibrate the eye tracker automatically and individually as needed.

The need

SayEye enables those with complex neurological diseases to communicate with their eyes. It is a system consisting of freely released open source software that can be installed on a PC, an eye tracker for eye tracking, and an app for mobile devices that allows caregivers to create new content in an immediate and intuitive way. SayEye is a tool designed both for communication sessions for rehabilitation purposes and to facilitate communication between caregivers and care-receivers on a daily basis. For example, thanks to SayEye, the caregiver can take a photo of the bar counter and send the choices to the care-receiver, who can indicate on his or her tablet what he or she would like to order with just a glance.

SayEye was developed specifically to meet the needs of children with severe communication and speech difficulties, who are treated at the TOG Centre. Unlike other software and eye-tracking systems, SayEye allows children who are only able to communicate with their eyes, to make themselves understood, thanks above all to an automatic and precise gaze calibration. SayEye distinguishes itself by being much more adaptable to the specific needs of each child and more customisable. Moreover, thanks to the app that can be downloaded onto a smartphone or tablet, it becomes an easy tool to integrate into the school curriculum or to use within the family.

The innovation process

Technology, especially in the field of care, is never the final answer to people's needs; rather, it is the co-designing of tools to meet the needs of all those involved. For this reason, the innovation of SayEye lies in both the end result and the process, which involved designers, developers, therapists and patients, experts in their condition. Thanks to iterative prototyping and testing sessions, it was possible to fine-tune the innovative features of SayEye, one of them being the intuition to equip users each with their own tool, so as not to interfere in the sessions.

“Don't tell us what you need, show us how you behave”

A unique system

The idea of creating a system that would allow caregivers and care-receivers to each have their own device came from observing sessions with other eye-tracker-based communication systems. The intuition of separating the devices and designing a system that is simple and personal for the user has brought with it a number of positive effects: firstly, communication sessions are never interrupted and interaction is fluid, which leads to the development of a sense of familiarity and belonging to one's instrument by all users. In addition, SayEye integrates adaptive machine learning algorithms that allow the automatic calibration of the eye-tracker, ensuring an experience that is as personalised and user-friendly as possible.

SayEye is an open source project, anyone wishing to contribute to the implementation of the suite is welcome, at this link you will find the Github repository where you can consult the source code and contribute to the development of the project.

Case study