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Teenager Builds $300 Open Source Eye-Tracking System

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the do-it-yourself dept.

Software 100

fergus07 writes "Developed by a 17-year-old electronics and programming whiz from Honduras, the Eyeboard system is a low-tech eyeball-tracking device that allows users with motor disabilities to enter text into a computer using eye gestures instead of a physical interface. This kind of system is not unique — there's plenty of eye tracking interfaces out there — but Luis Cruz has figured out a way to build the full system into a set of glasses for less than US$300, putting easier communication within reach of users in developing countries. He's also releasing the software as open source to speed up development."

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100 comments

Yeah well... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082136)

I played a few games of Pokemon today.

Eyewriter? (5, Interesting)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082154)

Re:Eyewriter? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083082)

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Re:Eyewriter? (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#38083364)

My council-run workplace proxy blocks instructables.com - the site is classified as a 'security threat.'

Re:Eyewriter? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#38084582)

Maybe they believe an autodidact employee is a threat to the business.

Re:Eyewriter? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#38084766)

Well, I do work at a school...

Re:Eyewriter? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#38086144)

LOL. That takes irony to another level.

Re:Eyewriter? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 2 years ago | (#38086464)

It also explains why our blocking policy is so strict. In more seriousness, Instructables is likely blocked out of fear a student might injure themselves while building something they looked up at school and their parents would sue. Either that, or a classifier once saw an article on their warning how to make something actually dangerous and decided that rather than go to the trouble of classifying individual articles they'd just block the whole site.

Re:Eyewriter? (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38092916)

Back in my high school, Slashdot was blocked as a blog, while 4chan, and more amazingly, 12chan, were not. Also, all CNN.com was blocked as violence while foxnews.com wasn't. The people compiling those lists are fucking morons.

Re:Eyewriter? (2)

zeroeth (1957660) | about 2 years ago | (#38084840)

The Eye Writer guys were at the Open Hardware Summit, their work allowed the graffiti artist Tempt to continue to create after he lost use of his arms and legs to Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Their methods used webcams for eye tracking, while the articles method uses electrical signals from eye muscles http://www.ees.intelsath.com/EES-EOG.pdf [intelsath.com]

The more the merrier!

Ron Paul Moves Into Second Place in Iowa AND New H (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082158)

Ron Paul Moves Into Second Place in Iowa AND New Hampshire

Re:Ron Paul Moves Into Second Place in Iowa AND Ne (-1, Offtopic)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082438)

And how many busloads of supporters did his "team" (or as the rest of the free world calls them; swirly-eyed supplicants) have to bring in to produce that result?

I would have had the first post... (4, Funny)

godrik (1287354) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082164)

... if I did not had to use an eye-tracking device!

Re:I would have had the first post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082610)

Apparently your eye-tracking device is also inaccurate. It confused "ve" with "d".

Re:I would have had the first post... (4, Informative)

nomel (244635) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082686)

This kid made an an eye gesture device, not true eye tracking. You can't have a cursor follow your eye.

"users with motor disabilities to enter text into a computer using eye gestures instead of a physical interface."

If you look, you'll see it's only two wires attached near the eye which makes it somewhat obvious. Cool, but a misleading title.

In other news, a news reporter misunderstands technology!

Re:I would have had the first post... (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about 2 years ago | (#38086278)

It appears to be an EOG, which makes sense because that's about the only tracker you can build that cheap. Basically it tracks the dipole of your retina that changes as your eye rotates. It's fine for low latency detection of gross movements, but won't give you particularly accurate position information and will have the tendency to drift with changes in skin conductance.

Re:I would have had the first post... (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about 2 years ago | (#38086310)

For the record, we engineered a similar (probably more sophisticated) device in my old lab for a similar cost. The news here is that it was done by some kid in central America.

Wont someone think of (5, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082212)

The US shareholders, their trust kids and this very real threat to generational wealth and long term patents.
They invested wisely in medical tech and have the US market cornered with helpful devices starting at a few thousand $.
If developing countries want the tech, let them contact USAID and get it the correct way.
Overtime this tech will be made into low cost products and shipped back into the US - like pharmacy products are now from Canada and Mexico.

Re:Wont someone think of (5, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082274)

This is either amazingly asinine or a brilliant troll because I can't work out which.

If you (America) wants to keep the tech in-house, stop selling the manufacture contract to the lowest bidder, i.e. another country. Pony up with the money to build it in the US. Yes, the manufacturing costs will be much higher, but if you have a monopoly on the market for that particular product, then price isn't that much of an issue.

All your debt, all your trade deficit. It's dead simple to fix. You could fix it tomorrow. Stop buying imported goods. You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically. Will you (the people) pay a lot more? Yes. Will your selection be smaller? Yes, greatly. Will it be better for your country? Sure it will. With some luck you might even then be able to start selling some of your goods overseas to help pay back that stupidly high debt.

Re:Wont someone think of (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082316)

This is either amazingly asinine or a brilliant troll because I can't work out which.

If you (America) wants to keep the tech in-house, stop selling the manufacture contract to the lowest bidder, i.e. another country. Pony up with the money to build it in the US. Yes, the manufacturing costs will be much higher, but if you have a monopoly on the market for that particular product, then price isn't that much of an issue.

All your debt, all your trade deficit. It's dead simple to fix. You could fix it tomorrow. Stop buying imported goods. You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically. Will you (the people) pay a lot more? Yes. Will your selection be smaller? Yes, greatly. Will it be better for your country? Sure it will. With some luck you might even then be able to start selling some of your goods overseas to help pay back that stupidly high debt.

Wish I had mod points today. This is on point, good sir!

Re:Wont someone think of (2)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082416)

Buy American? What kind of jingoism is this? Why should Americans discriminate on basis of nationality? You're aware that this sort of thing is against the law in America?

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082436)

Really? Its illegal for you as a consumer to choose American made products over imported products? Are you sure, because if thats the case, no wonder the economy is messed up. I thought thats what Capitalism was all about.

Re:Wont someone think of (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083138)

I thought thats what Capitalism was all about.

Capitalism is the law in the U.S.
If you aren't a capitalist to the point that it gets retarded you are either a communist or terrorist depending on how old you are. Either way it would be anti-American to buy locally produced goods.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083272)

"Either way it would be anti-American to buy locally produced goods."

Wha-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-t?????

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38086810)

Buy American? What kind of jingoism is this? Why should Americans discriminate on basis of nationality? You're aware that this sort of thing is against the law in America?

Wow. There's some weapons-grade stupid right there. Discriminate? Illegal? Jingoism? You need to bust out your dictionary and figure out where you went wrong there, pal.

Jingoism: "Extreme patriotism in the form of aggressive foreign policy." An individual choosing what they purchase based on its country of origin is neither a foreign policy, nor extremism. I buy my chocolate from Madagascar because it tastes better. I buy my cars from America because my friends and family work at the plant.

Illegal: "Not according to or authorized by law." An individual choosing what they purchase based on its country of origin is not governed by law.

Discriminate: "The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things." If an individual chooses to purchase an item based on its country of origin because doing so will assist the country he purchases it from, that is both a justified purchase and one based on judgement of the facts, not prejudice.

Re:Wont someone think of (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082422)

You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically

But then how will we buy all the cheap shit from Wal-Mart that ends up in landfill?

Nobody thinks of the Walton family, I guess and the effect this could have on them.

And if Wal-Mart closes, then all those people who closed their small stores will have to go back to work in their own shops, instead of the nice jobs they have now as Wal-Mart greeters.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082708)

You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically

But then how will we buy all the cheap shit from Wal-Mart that ends up in landfill?

Nobody thinks of the Walton family, I guess and the effect this could have on them.

And if Wal-Mart closes, then all those people who closed their small stores will have to go back to work in their own shops, instead of the nice jobs they have now as Wal-Mart greeters.

Hey, the Waltons own an entire mountain, whereas I'm stuck renting a stupid apartment that I can't turn the heat down in.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083286)

Hey, the Waltons own an entire mountain, whereas I'm stuck renting a stupid apartment that I can't turn the heat down in.

There exist apartments where you can't turn the heat down? And then people wonder why the U.S. is top in energy consumption.
I hope no one claims that being able to turn the heat down makes your life less comfortable.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#38089594)

Hey, the Waltons own an entire mountain, whereas I'm stuck renting a stupid apartment that I can't turn the heat down in.

There exist apartments where you can't turn the heat down? And then people wonder why the U.S. is top in energy consumption. I hope no one claims that being able to turn the heat down makes your life less comfortable.

Not only can I not turn the heat down, but I run my AC 24/7 to keep the room temp tolerable.

Re:Wont someone think of (2)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082424)

You want to help your country, buy the products that you make domestically.

What products? We're too busy drinking Fair-Trade Guatemalan Shade-Grown coffee with from Starbucks and talking on our Chinese-made iPhones while driving Fords build in Mexico... Who has time to make things - geesh. Now excuse me while I fire up the Sony and watch Survivor - the South Pacific looks really nice.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38086838)

First off, all Starbucks coffee is Fair Trade. Second it is Organic Shade Grown Mexico, not Guatemalan. You poser douchebag.

Re:Wont someone think of (3, Interesting)

maztuhblastah (745586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082464)

Tell me, Fluffeh, where did you manage to purchase your computer?

I'd love to have a laptop that wasn't produced primarily with Chinese components, so I'm dying to find out where you got yours!

Re:Wont someone think of (4, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082582)

Hey Maztuhblastah, yes, my PCs are made in the same place that your PCs are made. That's not how it has always been though has it - which is my point. The first microprocessors (Intel 4004 [wikipedia.org]) were built by Intel, which is an American company based in Santa Clara. The first microcontroller/microcomputer was built by the Texas Instruments, which was the TMS 1000. That company is in Texas.

My point is that it isn't enough just to have a great R&D department in America. If you really want to keep profits, you need to have that great R&D and then build it at home. Will that mean that a US built computer (assuming all the manufacturing plants were there) would cost buckets more than a computer built with the same specs in China? Absolutely.

The problem is that in trying to maintain profits companies look at (for the most part) fairly short term horizons. Will they be able to make more money by having a product built overseas where workers are payed a handful of beans per week? What isn't factored into the equation is whether that overseas manufacture will cause the plant down the road to close down due to lack of demand. Companies are insular in that they don't look for the best outcome of their community, their state or their country. That's where the government should be stepping in to either increase taxes on products coming in from overseas, or offering incentives to keep that industry on their own soil. Now, it can get stupid (see American sugar cane growers for a perfect example of this) but if the American people refused to buy sugar made from cane grown overseas, then the cane farmers would be quite happily able to maintain their own industry at home.

While the choice to buy local can be difficult, do you think that GM or Ford would be in such a pickle if the American public were thinking of their country first and refused to buy Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and all those Hyundais?

I live in Australia and while I understand that I cannot buy EVERYTHING I need as an Australian made product, I make sure to buy everything I can. That often means I pay a premium. We don't grow much rice in Australia these days, which is a bit of a shame. I also make a point to write to supermarket chains to point out a lack of choice. Recently I went to my local supermarket (one of the two large supermarket chains in Australia) and found that I wasn't able to buy beans that were made in Australia. There were even a number of bean tins that were branded by the supermarket - but made in Italy. If enough people made the choice to speak what they wanted - and they spoke with more than "I want the cheapest!" then we would have a much better debt position. People like Dick Smith [wikipedia.org] do wonders to point these sort of things out in the media - and I really wish that more people listened and did something rather than just nodding and forgetting five minutes later. For example, he has a product that competes with Redheads matches. It's called Dickheads [wikipedia.org]. The back of the box reads: We would have to be complete dickheads to let most of our famous Australian brands be taken over by foreign companies. Brands such as Vegemite, Aeroplane Jelly, Arnott's, Speedo and Redhead Matches are in overseas hands. This means the profit and wealth created goes overseas and robs our children and grandchildren of a future. A protest from Dick Smith Foods. As Australian as you can get..

You make the bed you will sleep in later. I am trying to make the best bed I can, and try to encourage others to do so too. That's all I can do.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082632)

"People like Dick Smith [wikipedia.org] do wonders to point these sort of things out in the media"

Unfortunately his electronics profit was made (and the company's profit still being made) on cheap "Made in China" products. As a fellow Australian, I am also annoyed at our selling our history and products to overseas companies. Along with successive governments apparent determination to destroy our manufacturing, Australia seems to be an import-only country.

Re:Wont someone think of (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083404)

yep.

Also I would call him more of a money-grubbing cunt.

-NZ

Re:Wont someone think of (3)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082658)

Dick smith is a hypocrite, all his electronics stores revolved around importing the cheapest crap from overseas, so now for him to say buy australian is a huge backflip. Back when that was happening with dick smith, australia was still manufacturing lots of stuff, now we're just importing everything, whilst exporting the raw materials.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

Puff_Of_Hot_Air (995689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082916)

Dick smith is a hypocrite, all his electronics stores revolved around importing the cheapest crap from overseas, so now for him to say buy australian is a huge backflip. Back when that was happening with dick smith, australia was still manufacturing lots of stuff, now we're just importing everything, whilst exporting the raw materials.

You do realize that the "dick smith" electronics store was sold to woolies in 1982? 60% in 1980, then the rest in 1982. Are you really talking about the store during the 70's? In addition, it does not make someone a hypocrite to behave in a different way to what the once did. Is the reformed alcoholic a hypocrite for wanting tighter alcohol regulation? You really haven't thought this through.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

sd4f (1891894) | more than 2 years ago | (#38121406)

You do realize that the "dick smith" electronics store was sold to woolies in 1982? 60% in 1980, then the rest in 1982. Are you really talking about the store during the 70's? In addition, it does not make someone a hypocrite to behave in a different way to what the once did. Is the reformed alcoholic a hypocrite for wanting tighter alcohol regulation? You really haven't thought this through.

It is about his stores before they went to woolies, ie, when he was running them. Now, i think you really havn't thought it through, because it's all good and well that Dick Smith has all his money from that venture, he hasn't reformed, the foods business seems to be more about media squawking than anything else that noone else does what he didn't do.

If he was reformed, he'd at least acknowledge the fact, but hasn't, and won't, i think saying that he's reformed is drawing a really long bow, since your alcoholic annalogy would be akin to said alcoholic wanting tighter regulation, whilst having a large stockpile for himself.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082758)

GM and Ford make crappy cars. That's why they're in a pickle. They would make good cars if they were allowed to fail. But since they were bailed out by the government, they are doomed to making crap forever. Want to support American Manufacturing? Buy a Honda. Assembled in the USA!

Re:Wont someone think of (3, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#38083058)

While the choice to buy local can be difficult, do you think that GM or Ford would be in such a pickle if the American public were thinking of their country first and refused to buy Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi and all those Hyundais?

I think you should read up on where the Toyotas (AL, KY, WV, TX, IN, MS*), Hondas (AL, OH), , Mitsubishis (IL) and Hyundais (AL) are made. Along with Benz (AL), BMW (SC), VW (TN*), and Subaru (IN).

* Currently being built.

Re:Wont someone think of (2)

dotancohen (1015143) | about 2 years ago | (#38083748)

For example, he has a product that competes with Redheads matches. It's called Dickheads [wikipedia.org]. The back of the box reads: We would have to be complete dickheads to let most of our famous Australian brands be taken over by foreign companies. Brands such as Vegemite, Aeroplane Jelly, Arnott's, Speedo and Redhead Matches are in overseas hands. This means the profit and wealth created goes overseas and robs our children and grandchildren of a future. A protest from Dick Smith Foods.

And just look at what the Dick's website [dicksmithfoods.com.au] says:

Dick Smith Foods - Guaranteed not grown downwind from a nuclear power station

Not to mention that the Dickhead matches were _packaged_ in Australia from Chinese wood and sulfur, I think that you might stop using them as an example. Other than an example of shame and hypocrisy, that is.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

Larryish (1215510) | about 2 years ago | (#38084002)

There is something that you are missing in all this.

Corporate execs have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders. This responsibility practically requires that decisions be made that are beneficial in the short term, in order to drive up stock prices.

Failure to do so can result in dismissal or litigation.

Want to fix the country? Dissolve corporations. You have 3 choices, bub: sole proprietorship, partnership, or nothing.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | about 2 years ago | (#38085604)

Sadly, just getting rid of corporations isn't really a great option. The bundle of laws that created corporations were created specifically to address problems that couldn't be easily solved with partnerships. For example, it wouldn't make sense to have a large company capitalized by thousands of individual partners, each of whom was jointly and severably liable for the actions of the company, and people wouldn't buy into such a business. Could you imagine your mother getting sued or thrown in jail because the business that she owned, by way of some shares in retirement investments, defrauded someone? A partner in a company is 100% liable for the actions of that company (except in LLPs, but those have limited application), so what would happen is that the wealthy partners, with their fleets of lawyers would be able to find some way off the hook, leaving the small shareholder partners on the hook for the liability. The company itself couldn't be found liable, because it's not a corporation. Not very just.

You can make the argument that you should just not have large businesses with thousands of partners, but that would require a pretty complete transformation of the world economy, as a large chunk of the economic activity of the world is done by corporations. In the West, things are getting worse for the average person, in large part because of the way corporations take and distribute profits. But in China and India, the average person's life is getting better (economically), and that's because we consume so many Chinese goods and outsource so much labour to India and other places. Take corporations out of the picture, and suddenly you have a billion people out of work, scrambling around and trying to figure out how to sell their goods and services without an infrastructure.

It would be better to a) tighten up the rules governing corporations to require them to make more forward-thinking decisions (reward corps for creating dividends, rather than driving up share prices, for example), b) enforce the rules we already have, and c) put an end to the practice of having executive managers of one company sitting on the boards of their buddies' companies, which has been shown to drive up executive salaries at the expense of both lower-level employees and shareholders.

These are just a few changes off the top of my head that I think would make a huge difference. There are other areas that assuredly need tinkering, such as the nature and strength of the corporate veil, whether or not the corporate veil should exist where criminal charges are laid against a company, and others. But just eliminating corporations would have potentially disastrous consequences for the world economy. Globalization is here, whether we like it or not, and corporations are a huge part of that. We're past the point where we can just reverse the trend, but we can still direct it into better paths, with some forethought and care.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084732)

> "yes, my PCs are made in the same place that your PCs are made"

And this year I'm asking Santa for a tablet!

Re:Wont someone think of (2)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082480)

See it more as a "own a brand in the USA", "make in China", protect in the US with a "Medical Devices" sticker model.
Very low manufacturing cost, a cozy cartel market and "Medical Devices" laws keep it all safe.
Everybody wins.
http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/stories/s785987.htm [abc.net.au] shows what this cost for medical devices can do:
"Dr Shetty insists heart care does not have to be as expensive as the World Health Care Organisation and international medical companies make it."
"If you make an eco-machine which gives the image of the liver, then that machine say costs 10,000 dollars but the same machine, you say it images the heart, it will be sold for 50,000 dollars. Anything to do with the heart, everyone wants a premium. "
So yes good luck with this, but its interesting to see how and why medical tech is protected.

Re:Wont someone think of (1, Informative)

stms (1132653) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082570)

Contrary to popular belief the U.S. Government does not owe most of its debt to china it owes it to U.S. businesses.

Re:Wont someone think of (4, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082636)

This isn't about debt (more on that later though), it's about trade deficit [wikipedia.org].

The U.S. has held a trade deficit starting late in the 1960s. Its trade deficit has been increasing at a large rate since 1997 (See chart [wikipedia.org]) and increased by 49.8 billion dollars between 2005 and 2006, setting a record high of 817.3 billion dollars, up from 767.5 billion dollars the previous year. The US last had a trade surplus in 1975. Every year there has been a major reduction in economic growth, it is followed by a reduction in the US trade deficit.

Using the last few years, the US is literally giving other countries around five hundred billion dollars each year more than it is taking from them. That sort of economy simply cannot in any way, shape or form continue forever. It will eventually bottom out.

Now, moving on to who does own US debt.

As of January 2011, foreigners owned $4.45 trillion of U.S. debt, or approximately 47% of the debt held by the public of $9.49 trillion and 32% of the total debt of $14.1 trillion. The largest holders were the central banks of China, Japan, the United Kingdom and Brazil. The share held by foreign governments has grown over time, rising from 13% of the public debt in 1988 to 25% in 2007.

Maybe that's not "most", but that's certainly some scary numbers. Sourced from United States Public Debt [wikipedia.org].

Re:Wont someone think of (4, Interesting)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082768)

Using the last few years, the US is literally giving other countries around five hundred billion dollars each year more than it is taking from them.

And in return, the US is getting goods worth around $500 billion more than other countries. That's how trade works. If you want to export more than you take in, you end up with less goods in your market than elsewhere.

There's always two things I find amusing in these discussions:
* the idea that Americans are more deserving of running the world than others, and that if they can't run it, they'll take the entire construct down
* the idea that the US trading with Mexico and Canada is somehow different than Texas trading with California, or Sacramento trading with Santa Clara.

Furthermore, with the amount of money those foreign governments hold, it's the US that owns them, not the other way around. The same way that if I owe a bank 100 grand, the bank owns me, but if I owe the bank 50 billion, I own the bank.

Re:Wont someone think of (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082812)

At least someone has some sense!!!

Re:Wont someone think of (2, Insightful)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082858)

If you want to export more than you take in, you end up with less goods in your market than elsewhere.

Not at all. Manufacture more than you consume. Look at Germany for example. It exports a bit more than the US and imports buckets of goods - you can't say that a German has less access to goods than someone in America. Yet the German economy exports more than it imports [tradingeconomics.com]. The german people had a trade surplus of around 150 billion euros (that's around 200 billion US).

Furthermore, with the amount of money those foreign governments hold, it's the US that owns them, not the other way around. The same way that if I owe a bank 100 grand, the bank owns me, but if I owe the bank 50 billion, I own the bank.

That's a total fallacy. Take Greece for example, it's loaded to the eyeballs with debt, they are being forced to accept massive austerity measures to continue getting assistance. If you are really saying say that Greece owns the EU then I think (hope) you might start to see why that statement is a joke.

Re:Wont someone think of (3, Insightful)

vipw (228) | about 2 years ago | (#38083070)

If Greece didn't "own" the EU, then it wouldn't get hardly any assistance. It's not humanitarian assistance that the EU is providing; they're attempting to limit damage to their own shared economy.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | about 2 years ago | (#38084154)

I agree that the EU is doing this to protect themselves, but I can assure you, the countries offering money aren't going short themselves by handing over some cash to bail out Greece. Yes, they are handing over some Euros to protect their own dollars, but they won't be going through any austerity measures back home.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#38086514)

Uh, you're not following the Euro crisis very closely, are you? Everyone is looking at austerity measures, and the Germans are particularly pissed because they would like to invest the money they're handing to Greece into their own economy. The entire reason there's a massive crisis is that no one knows if there's enough money in the entire Euro zone to bail out Greece, nevermind all the other countries that are having issues.

Re:Wont someone think of (2)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | about 2 years ago | (#38086698)

Look at Germany for example.

Good idea. I happen to have lived there, have friends and family there and still read the news regularly about it.

It exports a bit more than the US and imports buckets of goods - you can't say that a German has less access to goods than someone in America.

Until you actually go abroad, you have no idea how rich the US is, and how flooded it is with goods. Walking through Target or any strip mall is a surreal exercise after going shopping in any European country. The amount of money slushing around in the US is astounding, and is better spent (i.e., can buy cheaper goods of the same quality) on products being imported. That's where the trade imbalance is coming from.

Not to mention that that trade surplus is not what's keeping them afloat - it's a banking system and a mentality that frowns on risk and high debt. yes, they have their issues, but the scale is entirely different from that found in any other European country.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

submain (856941) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082868)

Furthermore, with the amount of money those foreign governments hold, it's the US that owns them, not the other way around. The same way that if I owe a bank 100 grand, the bank owns me, but if I owe the bank 50 billion, I own the bank.

That's not the case here. U.S. has acquired both debts and assets. If you want a bank analogy, here it is: you buy a nice car. You spent all your money on the car. Now you have to take a loan from the bank to buy food, but you are not willing to give up your comfortable car. Since the car depreciates over time, the bank owns you and your car.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

stms (1132653) | about 2 years ago | (#38083568)

I'm disagreeing with you I'm just pointing out that outsourcing manufacturing isn't our biggest problem.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082718)

Wow... your sarcasm sensor is broken.

Re:Wont someone think of (2)

tehcyder (746570) | about 2 years ago | (#38083312)

This is either amazingly asinine or a brilliant troll because I can't work out which.

I think you're the asinine one if you can't see it's a joke.

If he'd written "won't someone think of the poor proprietary software vendors being put out of business by open sores" maybe you'd have got it.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38086334)

Um, Australia has a trade deficit too. Something about glass houses and bricks comes to mind.

Re:Wont someone think of (1)

elbonia (2452474) | about 2 years ago | (#38086394)

The second we say we only buy our own goods, other countries will say that wont take in American exports. And of the material that we do need to import, such as rare earth minerals, countries can easily increase the cost to try to make up for the lack of US purchases of their products. So it's not so dead simple.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082618)

At least the shareholders of webvertising firms will be just fine. Once they require you to get one of these and stare at moronic ads for a good 20 seconds before you are allowed to see each image or paragraph of decent public content.

Re:Wont someone think of (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083122)

Socialist! The penalty is death by patent SUE HIM!

Not going to happen (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082222)

HAHAHAHA.. what "hondurAss"? i heard only illiterate people and terrorists live there...

now they want to force eyetracking on me? like in a communist country where i have no privacy?

we should bomb these ignorant assholes to freedom... and stop this terrorist scheme right in its tracks...

So when can we ... (2)

fsckmnky (2505008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082278)

aim and fire weapons with it ?

Re:So when can we ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082802)

aim and fire weapons with it ?

What... not enough collateral damage without eye tracking?

grateful dead throw (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082290)

Thank you the information on your blog was very useful
Tapetry Guy [slashdot.org]

A huge boon to HCI. (3, Interesting)

RubberChainsaw (669667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082336)

Currently this tech can only measure horizontal eye movements, which makes it limited for replacing a mouse. However, if they can approach the speed and accuracy of even a laptop's touchpad, then it may usher in a new era of interaction with a computer. We wont even have to touch our tablets to interact with them.

Considering that the commercial eye-tracking devices my quick search found were all several thousands of dollars, this could be a huge step forward. I'm mightily impressed!

Re:A huge boon to HCI. (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082354)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrooculography

Doing the vertical motion is a lot harder than the horizontal one. I have worked on/with such a commercial system before and it is very unstable due to impedance issues among many others....

Re:A huge boon to HCI. (2)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#38083036)

EOG can be done right, if you know what you're doing. The way he is doing it -- it barely works. He cut all the corners that there were to be cut. The quoted cost ($300 USD) is pretty silly for what he has done.

For noise mitigation and ease of use, you need a system that is physically small (forget any long wires) and uses integrated, reusable electrodes. It needs to be no harder to put on than eyeglasses. This seems like an obvious requirement. Who has time to play with electrodes?

This means the following (BTDT):
1. The electrodes are machined as rods with rounded ends out of titanium (lightweight!) or stainless steel. The inside can be drilled out to further reduce weight.
2. The electrodes are mounted on a PC board that straddles the nose bridge. They are on the inside corners the eye, aiding in keeping the system compact.
3. The PC board extends above the nose bridge and has slots for a flat stretchable "headband" that pushes it against your lower forehead. You may need an adapter piece (a plastic shim) to keep it at the right angle, this fitting is done once per person -- until one changes the shape of one's skull, that is.
4. The PC board holds the differential preamp and a low power CPU that does A/D conversion and transmission over IR. The battery (two AAAs) can be on the other side of the head, on the strap.

Ideally, you'd fit a two-cell charger on board (it's one more chip), with provision for charging the two AAA NiMH cells on the strap via, say, USB. Then you don't have to worry about having to mess with replacing batteries, and the computer is the power supply for charging -- it's there already, might as well use the standby power supply for something :)

If you have access to a lathe and scrap metal, you can keep the cost of the entire thing under $100 in materials, even in quantity one, even with a custom PC board.

Since you are, presumably, in front of your computer, using IR is the simplest, lowest cost means of one way communication. On a Mac you have built-in IR receiver so you need no extra hardware on the receiving end.

His is a nifty project, but done with little attention to detail.

Re:A huge boon to HCI. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084626)

From his report, it seems he invested quite some time into details. Of course you cannot expect a 17-year-old to know everything about a given technology, and given that, I think his achievement is impressive.
I hope he will release the code (in addition to the documentation, which is online now), so others can help with this effort.

Re:A huge boon to HCI. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#38089282)

You can't expect anyone to know everything, but there's something called research and exploration. There needs to be a phase where you play with it on paper (or in your head). Of course he did it for the heck of it, and I'm sure he had fun, but that's good for him, not for the potential user of it :) I claim that the details he invested his time into were simply not enough, at least not if you're thinking of a device that would purport to be anything besides an experiment (usable for others vs. usable to yourself only).

The deal is that he missed a vital factor in designing a device that purports to be useful: user-friendliness and usability. That's what turns you from just another engineer into an engineer that will do stuff that's enjoyable, not a yet another kludge. I still don't see why it had to cost so much, perhaps he included the cost of "lab supplies" such as the solderless breadboard?

Re:A huge boon to HCI. (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about 2 years ago | (#38088600)

Agreed, the news here is only that this was done by a 17 year old in central america. We built a better one for 300 bucks in my old lab with a medically rated power supply, and high speed data acquisition. I think the open-source video based approaches using a webcam are more likely to impact actual markets.

Re:A huge boon to HCI. (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#38089230)

I don't think that the age is much of a factor, I've seen more complex projects done by younger kids. Location (central america) doesn't tell us much by default either. Well, other than he probably had to pay higher taxes on everything, compared to U.S.

Do note that a medically rated power supply is not sufficient by itself, you still need another layer of galvanic isolation between that and the body of your subject. Batteries and optical (either wired or wireless) or radio connection are a best bet if you're not sure.

EOG doesn't really need more than a kilohertz or two for sampling rate, I don't know if that's "high speed" in your book or not.

I pretty much don't think it's worthy of Slashdot homepage, there is plenty of similarly cool projects done by kids all around the world.

Re:A huge boon to HCI. (1)

bmacs27 (1314285) | about 2 years ago | (#38091642)

Yea, we had them completely isolated. Our data acquisition could go up to the 100kHz range. I know, that's not really high, but as you point out it was higher than necessary for the application. It just made it play nice with our other simultaneously acquired data. My point was simply that we basically rigged up a fairly professional EOG for roughly same expense. I agree with you, this is pretty low tech. It's all :-o WIRES! Being in Honduras I suppose meant he wasn't privy to a US education... but that was probably an advantage.

The real deal. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082458)

You can easily tell this is the real deal and the kid has genuine talent. He isn't using a Mac, so he's genuinely interested in the tech, and not about posing like a hipster nerd wannabe.

Nothing new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082478)

He built a low-grade electrooculography rig. That's all.

Due to the electrodes there are safety concerns which need to be addressed. Between that and the usual markup of getting electronics to market, being able to build a one-off for $300 means next to nothing.

Moreover, the $300 Emotiv EPOC can already do EOG.

Re:Nothing new here (0)

tibit (1762298) | about 2 years ago | (#38083050)

A device like his, properly done, should cost no more than $30 done in market quantitites (10k+). Even a prototype, properly done, would cost less than $100 in materials, easy. How the heck did he spend $300 on his thing I just don't know. For $300 you could build a 16 channel EEG logger...

How many patents does it infringe? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082784)

It'll never sell for $300 or anything cheaper than the established players because they're sure to have patents that this guy is infringing on and, well, you know that particular story goes...

I built one in 1982 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38082820)

A famous physicist tried it...
It was fun but it was work to use it...

Re:I built one in 1982 (2)

hey! (33014) | about 2 years ago | (#38084218)

Around the same time you built yours I had a student job at MIT where I worked in a lab that did research on visual perception stuff for the Air Force and NASA. We had eye tracking systems we'd built that were hooked up to a PDP-11 running RSX-11 (an interesting story in itself, but I digress). One of the things that surprised me was how simple eye tracking was in principle -- at least at the input end. Most of the work is interfacing, which today is a lot easier because of cheap USB interfaces and such.

I'm not at all surprised a maker can put together an eye tracking system for under $300. $300 is quite generous for the task.

What's impressive here isn't the engineering; it's that this kid envisioned doing something, researched how to do it, developed a design and built a prototype. No single step of this is particularly hard for a teenager with access to a library and the Internet. Nor is even dreaming up something like this all that unusual. What's unusual is acting on that impulse, and following it through to a prototype.

wat (3, Interesting)

Pence128 (1389345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38082844)

Mix equal quantities of cheap and nasty webcam, super-close-up lens and cheap sunglasses with the lenses popped out. Add "track the black circle" to taste. Serves 1. $10-$20.

Re:wat (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 2 years ago | (#38083110)

I was thinking in the same lines. That shouldn't be too hard to do, image recognition software combined with ever increasing computing horsepower should make that easy.

The beauty of this design is of course that it's non-intrusive, no cameras dangling in front of your eyes blocking your view. And while the prototype cost $300, that includes all kinds of (in manufacturing) unnecessary components like an experiment board, and components bought retail instead of just what's necessary bought wholesale. Going for mass production will likely slash the cost to US$ 50-100. Create custom components and have enough production and it may go down even more.

It just makes me wonder: as you have two eyes, will you be able to "pinch to zoom" with your eye movements? Blink left for left click, blink right for right click? Double blink to activate something? Close one eye to grab something on the screen and then use the other eye to drag it around?

The possibilities are endless! How come Steve Jobs didn't think of that? Isn't there a forward-facing camera in the iPhone and iPad already? Use that to track the user's eye movements.

Racists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38083942)

Congrats to him and hope he hone his skills in the future for more advance tech. He is doing something great and amazing for his age. We need people like him. No matter from what part of the world he is from; if you are fixated on america been superior. you are the downfall of civilization.

Microsoft patent violation (2)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 2 years ago | (#38084518)

This is a clear violation of the following Microsoft patents.

Patent No. 6,791,536 Simulating mouse inputs using non mouse device.

Patent No. 6,897,893 Simulating mouse inputs using non mouse device.

Magic Key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38084520)

There's a product "Magic Key", developed by a university teacher in Portugal, that only requires a normal webcam an the developed software, and allows users to fully control any personal computer (windows). I think it is freely distributed among people with special needs.

Honduras, of all places? (1)

mkuki (768661) | about 2 years ago | (#38086950)

Good article, but that one line is pretty condescending.

Re:Honduras, of all places? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38088380)

There is a high level of ELITISM in Science and Technology and the writer, Loz Bain was not even smart enough to see the condescending nature of that comment.

Earlier this week there was an article on /. about blacks getting VC money - it was interesting to read all the comments.

My comment is that we should NOT have prejudicial attitudes towards other peoples scientific and technological advances.

----------------

Comments removed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38089164)

This site remove posts for no reason?

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