Hands-free Online (Learning) Possibilities: EYCIN

Today I read another thought-provoking post from the futureismic blog

EYCIN is the abbreviation for Eye-Controlled Interaction system that was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Research in Stuttgart, Germany.  As reported in the Engineer Online, EYCIN “could lead to software applications for disabled people, or professionals, such as maintenance technicians or chefs, who need both hands free to carry out their work while accessing information (online).”  The Fraunhofer Institute also reported on EYCIN in their Research News

How often have you thought it would be great to have an extra pair of hands when working or learning online to click forward and back browser buttons while scanning pages of information and also trying to click on links to jump from one page (or web site) to another?  Now, try to imagine doing the same tasks if you are physically impaired without the use of arms or hands, or need to keep your hands firmly on tools or implements while accessing and reviewing critical information online. 

The EYCIN project has uncovered limitations with standard Windows interfaces and GUI design, problems with miniature jerk-like movements made by the eye, and a lack of available hardware that will delay a marketable version of EYCIN for one to two years.  However, let’s hope that the project continues to be funded as the potential applications and benefits are limitless as we continue to expand online learning and performance possibilities in the Participation Age.


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