The Loh Down On Science

Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh, The Loh Down on Science is a fun way to get your daily dose of science plus a dash of humor in less than two minutes. Hosted by Sandra Tsing Loh

Looks Can Kill

by The Loh Down On Science

New software offers people with extreme motor disabilities an entry into the world of online video gaming.

Wouldn't it be SWEET if looks COULD kill? Well, now they can!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with The Loh Down on Science.

Gaze technology has been in use since the nineteen nineties. It allows people with extreme motor disabilities--like "locked-in syndrome"-- to operate computers with only eye movements. Staring at a spot on the desktop moves a cursor or acts as a mouse-click, enabling communication and other functions.

But the process is far too slow for the REAL purpose of computers: chasing Orcs through Azeroth in World of Warcraft and other multiplayer online games.

So motor-disabled players have been sidelined.

But maybe not for long--thanks to software developed by Stephen Vickers of De Montfort University in Leicester, England.

His system speeds up the command process with new eye-controlled functions. Users can switch viewpoints, manipulate objects, and communicate with other players--at warp speed. Eye-functions can also be turned off temporarily, so you don't accidentally send your avatar over a cliff or crashing into a tree by glancing in the wrong direction.

In short, next time you're online gaming in Azeroth, beware of that Stephen Hawking. He'll cut you, man, he'll cut you! At least I think it was him.

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