They call it a journey for a reason.
Learning to use EyeGaze as a method to access devices is not always plain sailing. It takes practise, over time, to master the skills to be a smooth and speedy Eyegazer.
When embarking on your EyeGaze journey there are a couple of factors to take into consideration.
Fatigue – Your eyes are essentially the mouse pointer on the screen of your device when using EyeGaze. This means you have to really focus on making sure your head is in the right position, you are sat at the right distance from the camera to pick up your eyes, and that you look at the icon you are wanting to press with intention and don’t get distracted by other things on the screen or around you.
When an individual uses a device in a typical way, they don’t need to sit in a certain position or make sure their eyes are being picked up by a camera. They don’t even need to look at everything they are doing with such intention. EyeGazing is physically and mentally fatiguing, and like any new skill, needs to be practised to build the energy levels needed to successfully use it. Eventually you would need less and less breaks and can use EyeGaze uninterrupted for longer periods of time.
Mood – It’s very important to practise EyeGazing in a fun, relaxed environment. Individual’s with brain injuries may experience high tone in their muscles when they feel emotional stress. We have noticed our clients experience high tone in their muscles when they feel under pressure to perform when practising using their EyeGaze. This results in jerky, uncontrollable movements in their body, making EyeGazing increasingly difficult. Now, you can imagine the frustrating circle you end up in, Feeling pressure to do well with EyeGaze, this creating high tone in muscles, this making EyeGazing harder to do, which increases the emotional stress, which then increases or prolongs the high muscle tone – round and round we go!
EyeGaze companies offer learning journeys to follow which involve a lot of games and leisure activities. This is to foster a calm, relaxed, and fun session for the EyeGaze user to practise using it with no pressure and therefore a much calmer body. EyeGazing requires a calm approach for the cameras to keep up with your eye movements and for you to be able to dwell on icons (look at what you want to access for enough time) to click on them.
During an EyeGazing fun session with a client, I discovered the benefits of using a tool called Kahoot.
Kahoot is a website and an app where you can create quizzes. Once the quiz is made, you can then load up the quiz on a host computer, then share out a ‘game pin’ to the people you would like to complete the quiz. They enter the game pin into the Kahoot website or app on their device and they are entered into the quiz. The host computer displays the questions, multiple choice answers, and the leader board. When a question is presented, the users are presented with four multiple choice buttons they must click in the allotted time, on their device.
The beauty of using Kahoot for EyeGaze practise is it is very tablet friendly, so can be used on an iPad, Microsoft Surface, a phone or TD Pilot etc.
The multiple choice buttons are large and colourful making them easy to navigate to and click.
Kahoot allows you to create your own quizzes, alternatively you can browse their extensive database of quizzes created by fellow users. You can find a quiz on pretty much any topic, making it possible to tailor the quiz to a client’s interests.
Another benefit to using Kahoot is if you get involved in the quiz yourself! I have found that clients feel less pressured (and therefore not so high muscle tone, and a more relaxed body) to perform, because as the person doing the intervention is engrossed in their own device (trying to win the quiz) they then won’t be staring at the clients screen whilst they use EyeGaze.
Kahoot is highly gamified and filled with fun sounds, music and graphics, making it a very fun tool to use when practising EyeGazing.
Give it a go! Did I mention… It’s free!