Tony Quan, aka Tempt1, is an artist, activist and graffiti writer. In 2003 he was diagnosed with ALS, and over the last seven years he has lost the ability to move, speak or even breathe on his own. But his mind and creative spirit remained intact.
So last year the Brooklyn born Graffiti Research Lab, a group who’s founding members are either professors or graduates of Parsons the New School for Design, speaheaded the Eyewriter project. They teamed up with OpenFrameworks and Free Art and Technology communities to build low cost, open source software and hardware that would allow Tempt1 to paint again through the use of eye tracking. Similar technology has allowed the physicist Stephen Hawkings to speak using only his eyes. But the technology EyeWriter created was the first to allow for detailed artistic expression.
Their low cost approach and open source methods have allowed other artitsts to replicate this technology across the world, from Cali to Kyoto to Mumbai. Today the team broke a new milestone. With the help of New York City-based funding site Kickstarter, the team raised $15,000 to build the next generation of EyeWriter software. The new version will expand the functionality beyond graffiti, so that users can also browse the web or compose emails just by moving their eyes.