Innovation

6The eye gaze computer doesn’t work outside in bright light. That’s where Ian and the NHS come in. The Communication Aids folks in the NHS have given me a switch. I click it with my face and I am able to select groups of characters, and then narrow down to the letter or punctuation mark. It needs someone to help me set it up each time and then I am ready.

We have just finished trialling version 2 of the idea Ian and I came up with. The idea is to dramatically reduce the amount of light and glare in the area of the screen and infrared beams. How to describe it? A box with an opening between my head and the screen and also at the bottom. It’s amazing what you can do with a few tissue boxes and a lot of gaffer tape.

The first version came down from the York manufacturing facility with my parents. It was made of paper and sellotape and was designed so we could provide more accurate measurements. My dad marked up v1, took photos and back up the M1 it went. Ian got to work.

He transported v2 in a bin liner, a sight which drew looks in a jittery country. Great fit, robust and bigger in every direction. Improved, screen glare still a problem, but solved by sticking a cushion on my head. Turns out that a baseball cap helps. Back up to York on the train. V2 left with me for trials. Measurements, sketches, photos – v3 to be made. Thanks Ian – joking aside, a lot of time and effort is going into this.
It is there weeks until my friends do the Lyke Wake Walk in aid of our family. 40+ miles in one day – seriously!?

If you have read either Die Kleine Backstube or The Fantastic Race, I would love you to write a short (or long) review on Amazon. Thanks! Dominic, thanks for my first ever review.

I am at my happiest just being with my family, be that watching Sebastian playing football and laughing with Simon (is your birthday on November 15th as well?), watching Valentina make stuffed Sardines on my bed and sitting quietly with Jane. Well, we don’t know too much about the future.

Andrew Knowlman

I am a 50-year old father of two children, married to Jane. I live in Hertfordshire, UK. I was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in April 2015.

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