Scientists have designed a pair of eyeglasses integrated with a sensor that converts eye muscle movement into electric signal and could be used to control external devices such as computers or lamps. The sensor, developed at Chongqing University and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in China, is based on a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), which is a device that generates an electrostatic charge in response to movement. The sensor connects to a pair of eyeglass frames and is activated and when the user wears the glasses, the sensor comes into contact with the skin and senses blinks.
When it does, it generates a tiny electrical charge that is sent to a device connected to a computer. The subject faces a computer screen and watches as a cursor moves over letters on the screen – when the desired letter is highlighted, the user blinks, selecting the letter. The process is repeated letter by letter to compose a text. The sensor can also be used to control other devices – turning a lamp on and off, researchers said. The team suggests their sensor device could be used by people with locked-in syndrome, for example, or ALS – any situation in which a person is unable to communicate in other ways. The research was published in the journal Science Advances.