In from the margins - enabling people with disabilities to learn and create music
People with the most severe physical disabilities, for example who are only able to move their eyes, are at most risk of being left in the margins of society. They can communicate via 'eyegaze' text systems, but the challenge is to design an analogous music system to enable them to learn about, explore, and create music, so as to communicate and connect with others in a more universal way. The combination of eyegaze and music is a new area, so the design methodology relies on incorporating eyegaze features into an existing music system designed for switch-control. The design of this user-centred system has evolved over 20 years, with the continual involvement of disabled users and teachers. The resulting prototype eyegaze music system is designed to facilitate exploration and creative work without continual help to operate it, and was successfully tested by eyegaze users. This is the genesis of an instrument to enable anyone - even with the most severe disability - to participate and share in creative activities, and connect them more with society
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