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Thread: OptiKey - full computer control (and speech) with your eyes

  1. #1

    Lightbulb OptiKey - full computer control (and speech) with your eyes

    In my spare time over the last 3 years I've been developing a free and open source application called OptiKey that gives complete computer control and speech using only your eyes. I'm now trying to raise awareness of OptiKey so that people living with disabilities are able to find it and hopefully benefit from using it.

    OptiKey is an assistive on-screen keyboard which runs on Windows. It is designed to be used with a low cost eye-tracking device (TheEyeTribe, GazeTracker, Tobii EyeX, Tobii REX) to bring keyboard control, mouse control and speech to people with motor and speech limitations, such as people living with ALS / MND. It works out of the box once you have your eye-tracking device installed and allows selections to be made using dwell selection, as well as physical buttons and assistive devices. If you do not have an eye tracking device you can use OptiKey with a mouse (or Camera Mouse).

    OptiKey was written to challenge the outrageously expensive, unreliable and difficult to use AAC (alternative and augmentative communication) products on the market. It is, therefore, fully open-source and free. Forever.

    Download it, read about it, check out the source code (C#) and watch the demo video at

    If you, or someone you know, could benefit from using OptiKey then please get in touch with me - I'd love to help and know that my software has made someone's life a little better -

  2. #2

    You have restored my faith in the human Race, making something that's needed and free !!, unlike most other products that are ridiculously priced as are most things for disabled folk. Again thank you


  3. #3
    Forum Member Ellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Hi Julius,
    Firstly, thanks for using your software skills for something other than gaming!!

    I already use open source software with an EyeX to control all functions of my PC. I watched the Text-to-Speak demo, looks straightforward to use.

    You said it offers complete control of the PC; is there a demo video available showing full functionality?
    I'd love to see it!

    Many thanks,
    Last edited by Ellie; 2nd July 2015 at 15:16.

  4. #4
    Hi Julius, I agree wholeheartedly with Pete, you are indeed a star to come up with something so valuable to people suffering with MND. I have already saved the web site and shall look forward to checking it out. BIG thank you!!! Ann

  5. #5
    Forum Member Terry's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Thanks Julius;

    I think that max will soon be using it. What speck computer will run it with the Tobi eyegaze? They say it needs USB3 and an I 5 processor.

    Regards Terry
    TB once said that "The forum is still the best source for friendship and information."

    It will only remain so if new people post and keep us updated on things that work or don't work and tips.

    Please post on old threads that are of use so that others see them and feel free to start new subjects and threads.

  6. #6
    Hi everyone.

    Firstly, thank you for your kind words. I'm thrilled at the positive response. As I said, this is a personal project that is very close to my heart. I am available to all of you if you want to try the software and would like any support from me to get it up and running. It is hugely customisable and can be themed, sped up/slowed down, the selection mechanism can be changed, etc to make it suit individual needs. I am happy to talk through how this works with any of you - just message me on here, or email me on

    Ellie - the demo video is here; I threw it together last weekend so it is not a complete overview, just a quick and dirty demonstration of the core functionality. The video shows me "swiping" words, directing output from OptiKey into other applications and controlling the mouse. OptiKey can be repositioned, resized and made transparent (all with your eyes), and hovers over everything in Windows. It is designed to simulate a keyboard and mouse, so anything you can do with those you should be able to do with OptiKey. If you are not sure how something works let me know and I'll find some time to create an instructional video for you.

    Terry - the Tobii EyeX that I have has minimum requirements of USB3 (as does TheEyeTribe tracker) and an Intel Core i5 processor (the requirements are listed on this page I have found that to be accurate. OptiKey has much lower requirements - I've run it on an 80 8 inch HP tablet, but if you want to use it with an eye tracker you'll need to meet the eye tracker's minimum requirements. So yes, i5 + USB3.

    On the topic of USB3: TheEyeTribe product page ( right at the bottom) suggests that you can "add" USB3 to a computer that doesn't already have it via a USB3 PCI card. They state that they have successfully tested cards from Sandberg, ST Lab and Delock, but your mileage may vary. I personally have no experience with this.
    Last edited by optikey_julius; 2nd July 2015 at 16:16. Reason: Add more info about USB3

  7. #7
    I was searching for cheaper versions of such technology in 2014 and came across Camera Mouse (also free) at the time. This seems like another step forward and I'm sure will be appreciated by many. Well done.

  8. #8
    Thanks Candle. Camera Mouse is on my "to try" list (with 100 other things!), but you can control OptiKey with a mouse, so there's no reason you couldn't combine Camera Mouse + OptiKey.

    I also want to add touch screen support. I think with that you could install OptiKey on a decent Windows tablet (which are becoming cheaper all the time) and have a solution that approximates the Tobii I-series devices.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Ellie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    I saw the video, thanks.

    Might there be another video in the future showing how it can be used to interface w/ web browsing, MS apps etc? I don't mean to pressure you!
    I tried Cameramouse, no comparison to eyegaze.


    PS. Sorry that the program came about from a personal experience.

  10. #10
    Hi Ellie,

    That sounds like a good idea. I'll make time in the next few days to put something together for you. I'm a bit sleep deprived as I have a 10 week old at home, but I'll get it done!

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