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A friend of mine described the following case:

Female patient late 20s early 30s, with sub-arachnoid hemorrhage. Fully conscious, but locked in. On ventilation.

Patient was a new mother (< 3 months) when hemorrhage occurred.

The husband is supporting his wife, bringing their baby to touch her on the few inches of skin on her face where she has sensation. She communicates by blinking and small head nods.

It got me thinking: Most of the things that help locked in patients reconnect with the world are pretty expensive.

There's a device called the myTOBII P10 which is a full blown computer that is operated solely by eye movements. It requires no setup and tracks people even if their head is bobbing around due to cerebral palsy.

http://www.tobii.com/assistive_technology/products/product_overview.aspx

There's also an eye gesture based text entry method called EyeWrite which works with it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCJIqVXBSUo

On the other hand, it may be possible to try a ghetto open source version of it using a cheap (sub-$1000) laptop with web cam.

http://www.cogain.org/eyetrackers/low-cost-eye-trackers

Cogain has a list of open-source and free eye trackers that use a webcam to find your eyes.

also all linux distributions come with the Dasher one point text entry system
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d6yIquOKQ0



and it can be installed on windows also.

I guess the real test is if the patient can use it.