Patients who have lost the use of speech will soon be able to communicate with their eyes thanks to a mobile application developed in Quebec.
Called Pigio™, the application will allow communication with the eyes, which act as a cursor on a digital screen. “You have control of the app just with the eyes. The mouse is your eyes, ”explains Dr. Étienne De Villers-Sidani, neurologist at the Montreal Neurological Institute and researcher on the project.
Available for free download, Pigio™ allows the patient to communicate by pointing (with the eyes) icons, phrases, predefined words displayed on the screen. The name Pigio™ is inspired by the carrier pigeon, which carries the message.
Different parts of the body are also imaged so that the patient can easily identify pain, and its intensity (see photo). Based on eye movement analysis, the tool takes approximately 20 seconds to calibrate the eye.
“We have met a lot of hospitals, nobody has ever seen that”, underlines Marc Reeves, entrepreneur at Innodem.
“It sounds simple, but it’s three years of development,” he says.
Recently, patients from the Neurological Institute are testing Pigio thanks to a pilot project.
“It is sure that for them it is a big change, it is very positive”, notes Dr De Villers-Sidani, who believes that there is a “crying need”.