Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is also called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” is a neurodegenerative disease that attacks nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. These motor neurons basically control the muscles throughout the body, and their progressive degeneration eventually leads to the death of ALS patients.
In the first stages of ALS, patients begin to lose control of their muscle movements as their motor neurons die. In later stages of the disease, voluntary muscle action is affected, and patients may become totally paralyzed.
ALS is a devastating disease that robs patients of their ability to experience life to the fullest. While no technology can heal motor neurons, assistive technologies like the Eyegaze Edge® can help ALS patients recapture important parts of everyday life.
The Eyegaze Edge® empowers users to communicate and interact, despite their disabilities. Not only can they hold conversations by typing messages or selecting pre-programmed phrases, they can also attend school, surf the Internet, and participate in social media using their eye movements.
In fact, the Eyegaze Edge® has optional programs that allow users to do all of the following:
- Operate lights and appliances
- Control infrared devices such as televisions and stereos
- Surf the Web and send emails
- Wirelessly control their own PC or Mac, using the Computer Access program’s on-screen keyboard and mouse
- Store and play music
- Organize and view photos and home movies
- Read books on Kindle
- Watch YouTube videos
- Use a word processor
- Update their Facebook Page
The Eyegaze Edge® can be customized to fit unique user needs as well. Users can easily change the gaze duration, phrases, and appliance labels, for example. Users can even create their own custom communication screens, which can be stored for continued use.
While we are still searching for an ALS cure, patients can regain some of their normal everyday activities with assistive technologies such as ours. Stay tuned for future blog posts, where we will highlight additional disabilities that can be aided by the Eyegaze Edge®.