The Institute for Neuro- and Bioinformatics is part of an Network of
Excellence in which an number of researchers, enterprises and user
organizations join forces to help disabled people in communicating by
Every year more than 100 000 people are diagnosed with motor neurone
diseases. Typically, even when all other ways of communicating are
either severely damaged or completely lost, the eyes still function.
Communication by Gaze Interaction (COGAIN) is a network of excellence
to help disabled people communicate more effectively.
Current eye tracker equipment allows users to enter text by using
their gaze. The users are able to select letters and numbers with
their eyes to construct words and sentences that can be spoken aloud
by the system. The users are empowered, as they can take up initiative
in communication instead of waiting for the assistant to act first.
Eye tracking systems that allow entering text by gaze have been
developed for about two decades, but the technology is still available
only to a small portion of the potential user population. Obstacles
for more wide-spread use currently include: the cost of eye tracking
equipment is too high for the users, gaze communication applications
only work with a particular eye tracking device, and devices are often
hard to use and require experts to operate them.
The COGAIN consortium (members of which are listed below) consists of
cutting-edge research groups and companies who have joined forces for
a common goal: empowering the disabled. There are over 100 researchers
in the Network of Excellence. The project aims at making research
results and commercial solutions known and available, at an affordable
cost, to the user community. The five-year project has received 2,9
million euros from the European Union and it was launched in a
kick-off meeting in September in Finland.
The coordinator of COGAIN, Kari-Jouko Räihä, Professor of Computer
Science at the University of Tampere, said: "We are excited with this
Network of Excellence which we believe can lead to real advances in
eye tracking technology and applications. We hope this project will
also lead to us to mainstream applications which would benefit all.
COGAIN believes that assistive technologies serve best by providing
applications that are both empowering and fun to use."
The following twenty organisations from Europe and Japan are involved in the COGAIN project:
University of Tampere (coordinator)
Bisbebjerg University Hospital
IT University of Copenhagen
Risø National Laboratory
Technical University of Denmark
Dresden University of Technology
University of Koblenz-Landau
University of Lübeck
Politecnico di Torino
Tokyo Institute of Technology
Tobii Technology AB
University of Zurich
De Montfort University
University of Cambridge
University of Derby
For more information please contact
Universität zu Lübeck
Institut für Neuro- und Bioinformatik
Ratzeburger Allee 160
+49 451 500-5500
+49 451 500-5502
COGAIN Network Coordination Office
e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.cogain.org
- Uni forscht über Kommunikation für Behinderte. HL-live 29.11.2004.
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