Obital, the Copenhagen-based startup developing eye-tracking software, has announced its new Eyetell app, which transforms any mobile device into an assistive communication tool for people with conditions that affect mobility, such as ALS, cerebral palsy, and paralysis.
The beta version of the app was unveiled today at TechCrunch Disrupt in Berlin. The Danish startup hopes the app introduces a new era of affordable assistive communication.
“Due to the high cost of specialty eye tracking hardware and software for assistive communications, millions of people with disabilities around the world simply can’t get the tools required to cover their basic needs for communication,” said Frederik Oestergaard Neble, CEO of Obital. “Limited accessibility to these tools has severe human impact, and our mission is to change this by releasing the life-changing potential of eye tracking technology through a new approach that is no longer dependent on expensive, specialty hardware.”
As far as eye-tracking-based augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), Obital stands out because it works seamlessly on any device or tablet, regardless of manufacturer or operating system. The technology is a combination of existing camera sensors in mobile devices with a new SaaS developed by the startup. As a result, with the Eyetell app, users simply look at the screen, type letters with their eyes, and then the device reads the text out loud to verify.
Not only does Obital empower users with disabilities, the technology also allows other developers to easily incorporate eye-tracking AAC into their own apps. “Obital’s new platform gives developers the ability to design their own apps with eye-based interaction and data using just a few lines of code,” added Neble. “We are excited to help accelerate the use of eye tracking into the mass market in a manner that can bring so much good to the world."
The company was founded in 2017 by Neble and Elias Lundgaard Pedersen and has so far raised a pre-seed round of funding.