A helping hand

Young Maysan innovator developing eye-tracking technology

MAYSAN — Zeid Ahmed, a 13-year-old from Amarah, has developed innovative software that enables users to control computers through eye movements. This technology, similar to a mouse controlled by eye movements, is designed to assist individuals with disabilities. Ahmed was motivated to develop this tool to aid a friend who lost his right arm in a car accident, allowing him to browse the internet using this technique.

Ahmed utilized Python, a widely used programming language, to create software the software powering his innovation. He converted computer commands from mouse clicks to camera-based eye movements, enabling cursor movement and command execution in just one week.

Ahmed is a student at the Distinguished School in Awasha, central Amarah, and has been granted a full exemption from first-year exams. He participated in the latest innovation exhibition organized by the Maysan Directorate of Education, where his application was selected for the annual exhibition organized by the Ministry of Education.

Ahmed told 964media: “The idea is old, and I wanted to create something for my friend, who wants to use the computer after losing his right arm in a car accident. I designed a ‘virtual mouse’ using eye movement to execute commands, and the concept took a month to prepare and just a week to implement.”

He noted that his interest in programming and computer games helped him create this technology. Ahmed used his personal computer, webcam, and a suite of software from Google, Microsoft, and Python to create the initial version.

He explained that there is no similar program worldwide but added that Google’s ‘MediaPipe’ technology, used in hand gesture commands, was adapted for eye movement. MediaPipe is an open-source software library developed by Google. It enables developers to build applications for media processing, offering pre-built models and tools for tasks such as face detection, hand tracking, and object detection. The technology is designed to run in real-time, even on less powerful devices, making it accessible for a wide range of applications.

“I hope to develop the software into a standalone application that works on multiple platforms,” Ahmed said.

The technology recognizes the user’s eyes through the computer’s camera. The right eye moves the cursor, while the left eye blinks to execute commands. “The system needs further development to integrate a lever used by computer mice to be fully functional.”

Ahmed stated he does not plan to involve any organization in developing the program until it is complete. Afterward, he may seek an organization’s help to officially release it on various platforms.