In 2010, a musician friend of designer/musician Zacharias Vamvakousis was in a serious motorcycle accident and feared he would never be able to play his guitar again. Zacharías realized there was no musical instrument accessible to people with severe disabilities. So he developed the Eyeharp — a digital instrument for the disabled: “If you can move your eyes, you can play music.” All that’s needed is the software and the Eyetracker, a special camera that monitors eye movements. With these two elements, musicians can play melodies simply by looking at the notes on the screen. Its users can play in groups and orchestras with other musicians. The Eyeharp is also a useful tool for therapists and music teachers. The interface can be adapted to accommodate many disabilities at any level of musical expertise.
The basic version with simple instrument functions is free. The full version, which includes a collection of 20+ instrument sounds, music learning tools, performance evaluation, a musical memory game, and a repertoire of songs, is for sale.
The instrument’s invention has led to the establishment of the Eyeharp Association, a non-profit start-up with the goal of developing and promoting accessible digital instruments. The Association is financed through donations, so if this is a cause you would like to support, or would just like more information, visit the website at https://eyeharp.org/.