Skip to content

You are using an outdated browser

Internet Explorer is not supported by this site and Microsfot has stopped releasing updates, therefore you may encounter issues whilst visiting this site and we strongly recommend that you upgrade your browser for modern web functionality, a better user experience and improved security.

Upgrade my browser

New electronic instrument enables paralysed people to play music with their eyes

New electronic instrument enables paralysed people to play music with their eyes
Source: Facebook/EyeHarp

Eye Harp can be controlled with a gaze or a head movement, empowering those with a motor disabilities to get involved with playing music at any level, and there is even a free version available for download.

play music through eye movements with eyeharp

Eyeharp is a social project with the mission of improving the quality of life of people with disabilities through music. The EyeHarp itself is a gaze-controlled or head-controlled digital musical instrument that allows people with disabilities to learn and to play music without barriers. 

Vamvakousis first began developing the EyeHarp while he was a student at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona studying for his Master’s degree in Sound and Music computing. Inspired by his musician friend who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, Vamvakousis began thinking of a way to allow his friend to play music once again despite the loss of function.
Zacharías Vamvakousis, a musician and software developer, has created a new software instrument that allows the differently-abled to play music using their eye movements. Vamvakousis first began developing the EyeHarp while he was a student at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona studying for his Master’s degree in Sound and Music computing. Inspired by his musician friend who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, Vamvakousis began thinking of a way to allow his friend to play music once again despite the loss of function. Source: EyeHarp.org
It’s set up to accommodate those suffering from cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, amputation of an upper limb, or spinal cord injury by letting them use their eyes or head movements to control a colour wheel coded with chords to play music. To use the EyeHarp, musicians simply have to install the software and an eye-tracking camera.
Realising that there were no instruments that were accessible to quadriplegic people, he designed the EyeHarp. It’s set up to accommodate those suffering from cerebral palsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, amputation of an upper limb, or spinal cord injury by letting them use their eyes or head movements to control a colour wheel coded with chords to play music. To use the EyeHarp, musicians simply have to install the software and an eye-tracking camera. Source: Facebook/EyeHarp
A free version of the EyeHarp is available for download that features piano sounds ,16 channels of MIDI output, harmoniser and reverb effects, and scales, register, and transposition options.
The project has been in development for a decade and has now entered the crowdfunding phase as Vamvakousis seeks to make his software more readily available to differently-abled communities. A free version of the EyeHarp is available for download that features piano sounds ,16 channels of MIDI output, harmoniser and reverb effects, and scales, register, and transposition options. Source: Facebook/EyeHarp
But more than that, it enables him to express a range of emotions with others. It allowed him to jam with his guitar-playing brother, Eric, at home, and perform onstage in Madrid and Barcelona.
14-year-old Joel Bueno says the EyeHarp brings him joy. But more than that, it enables him to express a range of emotions with others. It allowed him to jam with his guitar-playing brother, Eric, at home, and perform onstage in Madrid and Barcelona. Source: Facebook/EyeHarp
Source: Facebook/EyeHarp
Notes appear on screen in a color-coded wheel set to pentatonic or heptatonic scales, and are selected for sonification by the user’s gaze. The same note as the one previously selected will remain on the screen for fast power riffing, or another can be chosen.
EyeHarp interface Notes appear on screen in a color-coded wheel set to pentatonic or heptatonic scales, and are selected for sonification by the user’s gaze. The same note as the one previously selected will remain on the screen for fast power riffing, or another can be chosen. Source: YouTube/EyeHarp
A one-time purchase option is available at €589. The full version includes a suite of over 20 instrument sounds, assisted learning tools, exercises for improving playing technique, a musical memory game, and more.
The paid version of the software is available with a €15 monthly subscription, or a €150 yearly subscription. A one-time purchase option is available at €589. The full version includes a suite of over 20 instrument sounds, assisted learning tools, exercises for improving playing technique, a musical memory game, and more. Source: EyeHarp.org
Globally, around 50 million people could benefit from augmented and alternative communication tech, Dr. Vamvakousis estimates. Currently, he says, fewer than 2% are so equipped.
So far, around 650 people are using either the basic or premium versions of EyeHarp. Globally, around 50 million people could benefit from augmented and alternative communication tech, Dr. Vamvakousis estimates. Currently, he says, fewer than 2% are so equipped. Source: EyeHarp.org
Alexandra plays music with her eyes! The EyeHarp is an innovative software that allows people with quadriplegia play music for the first time! Source: Facebook/EyeHarp

Sources:

Christian Science Monitor, Musitech 

Make an Impact

MUSIC OF THE EYES: LEARN MORE, DOWNLOAD, DONATE

EyeHarp is the first musical instrument that allows people with disabilities to learn and play music with gaze or with head movements. Click this link to learn more, to download the free version, or to donate.