Sight Sign, a Microsoft Garage project, showcases the power of eye gaze input, inking with Windows, and robotics. It allows people with disabilities to do their own signature using their eye gaze. Basically, it is a Windows 10 app that can connect to a robot via USB and users can instruct the robot to reproduce the signature writing. The special thing about this app is that it is “eye gaze” enabled which means once the ink is saved, users can control the robot with their eyes, mouse, keyboard, or other assistive technology.
They used uArm Metal robotic arm which is cheaper, easy to code, easy to transport, and light-weight. As it is a Microsoft Garage project, six people across three different organizations inside Microsoft came together to make this app. Jon Campbell, Ashley Feniello, Jay Beavers, and Chris O’Dowd from Microsoft Research built the eye input and robotic writing. Guy Barker from Windows team built the inking interface and application. Jason Grieves from the Microsoft Accessibility team managed the project.
Sight Sign was inspired by New Orleans Saints’ Steve Gleason, made famous with an epic blocked punt against the Atlanta Falcons, in the first game played in the New Orleans Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.
In January 2011, Steve was diagnosed with ALS, considered a terminal neuromuscular disease. Beyond his faith that there is a solution to heal, it is his mission to show that patients can not only live but thrive after this diagnosis. In doing so, he hopes to inspire others to do the same.
The application, source code, and 3D schematics of Sight Sign are all available freely on GitHub.