Otago Polytech IT Students create software for people with disabilities 'to make their lives a bit better'

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Coupling a tool used to play computer games withOtago Polytech IT students has resulted in a life-changing piece of software for people living with disabilities.

It allows users to control a computer using only their eyes and comes at a fraction of the cost of traditional devices. 

IT graduates Richard Horne and Hayden de Wattignar created the software to "open source", meaning people anywhere can access it for free. 

The device allows users to control a computer with just their eyes.
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"It was difficult at first, there were a lot of challenges along the way but we worked as a team and got there in the end,' said Mr de Wattignar. 

The only piece of equipment the user needs is an eye-tracking tool, which is predominantly sold for gaming, costing around $150.

The program then provides functions such as a keyboard you use with your eyes to type with.

Facial movements can also control computer functions, so users can navigate a website or with actions like raising eyebrows, according to IT lecturer David Rozado.

"What they have generated is something that doesn't exist," he said.

The emphasis has been on making the program accessible and easy to use.

"I hope a lot of people that need this sort of technology can get access to it and make their lives a bit better with it," said Mr de Wattignar.

The software is available now and will be refined by future IT classes at the Dunedin polytech. 

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