Picture of The EyeWriter
Tempt 1el.jpg
Photo 300.jpg
Samuel Taylor Coleridge said, "My eyes make pictures, when they are shut."
Well, my friend Tony's eyes write graffiti and they are wide open.

Behold the latest ocular assault weapon from the Graffiti Research Lab, openFrameworks, The Fat Lab and The Ebeling Group: The EyeWriter. It is a low-cost eye-tracking apparatus + custom software that allows graffiti writers and artists with paralysis resulting from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis to draw using only their eyes.

This instruction set details how to make your own solderless eyetracker for only $50 dollars using a hacked PS3 Eye and a cheap pair of sunglasses.

"Art is a tool of empowerment and social change, and I consider myself blessed to be able to create and and use my work to promote health reform, bring awareness about ALS and help others"
-- Tony Quan, aka Tempt One

For more information on the story behind the EyeWriter, TemptOne and more, check out

For more info on ALS click here.

For more words directly from Tempt One click here.

Programmers, engineers, ALS patients/family-members, medical professionals and projection artists! If you're interested in becoming part of the EyeWriter development team contact us here.

The EyeWriter Development Team is:

Graffiti Research Lab
The Ebeling Group
Zach Lieberman
James Powderly
Evan Roth
Chris Sugrue
Theo Watson
Keith Pasko
Eleanor Dunk
Jamie Wilkinson
Greg Leuch

With special thanks to the Not Impossible Foundation and Sven Travis from Parsons Communication, Design + Technology
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redwards93 years ago
I downloaded the macam and the eyewriter software and installed it on my macbook pro. Both programs work but I can't figure out how to make the eyewriter use the PS3 cam instead of the built-in cam. Any way to make this work on a macbook pro or any other mac with a built-in cam?

Also were can I download the drawing app and is there a mac version?
On mac, all you have to do is this:

mac users need to install the modified maccam component ( to /Library/QuickTime to get a good, fixed everything ps3 camera image from their computer (if they are using ps3 eye camera as described in the eyewriter instructables)

should work after you move the compnent file to that directory


i have problem getting the ps3 eye to work on mac. installing the madam component on the quicktime directory doesn't seem to detect the ps3eye as a webcam itself.

Do you have a fix on this?

Thank you in advance


Have you figured out how to make the eyewriter use the PS3 cam instead of the built-in cam? I have the same problem and will be grateful if you share the solution (if you have found it!)
I have not unfortunately. I have tried sending out other emails but no response. If I get it figured out, I'll post it.Please do the same.


I have since figured this out! (I work with Windows 7. I am sure this will work with Windows XP too)

Do NOT connect your PS3 Camera to the laptop/ PC

Go to Control Panel->System->Device Manager

You will see your built-in camera listed here under Imaging Devices. (Mine was Sony Visual Communications Camera). Right click on this and select "Disable".

With the Device Manager open, plug your PS3 Camera to the USB Port

You will see that as you plug on the PS3 Camera, a new device gets displayed as a new device. (In my case this came listed as "PS3 Eye Camera" under a new group named "CodeLabs DeVices". If You don't see this, try unplugging/ plugging on the camera).

To calibrate the PS3 Camera, I used the software temptTracker tracker that I downloaded and extracted in the folder temptTracker_020_cb. Hope you too have downloaded this.

Go to temptTracker_020_cb->bin->data->settings. Open the file xml file inputSettings using NotePad. In this file there is a line to specify the DeviceId (Between angular brackets with DeviceId and /DeviceId)

I had to try different device IDs in the line 0. (In my case 2 worked!). Thus this line was changed to 2. After each trial with a new device number, save the file in NotePad.

With the DeviceId as 2 I got the eyewriter to detect and use the PS3 cam! For this, I executed the Application "temptTracker" found in the Bin folder.

Hope this works for you too!

Anand Nair
jbruner1 anair82 years ago
Hi, i am very new to the software side of this project.. I have the built the glasses and are fully funtioning. But I have no idea where to start with the software or how to get the app running, I have a PC and have Code::Blocks installed.. Thanks
hey so i followed your instructions and it worked great for temptTracker.exe file but now im having trouble having it work for the Remoteeyetracker.exe file .. that you can download from ... does anyone know how to make it work?
Thanks! I am trying to get this to work on my Macbook Pro but the person who needs to has a PC too I believe. I'll have to borrow a PC and follow your instructions.

Thanks again for the reply!!

RodrigoG219 days ago

hello friend interested in your project

I have a question on a line of code in the file trackingManager.cpp

void trackingManager::videoSettings(){

//TODO: fix this!! [zach]
//if( !bUseVideoFiles ) ((ofVideoGrabber *)videoSource)->videoSettings();


can you explain step by step to understand it better

nirmani1 month ago

1/2.5" 8mm 3MP F1.4 fixed infrared cs mount camera lens for cctv security camera

would this work for the camera lens... please reply soon.. I need to order a lens...

stevenb52 months ago

hi my name is steve I live in the us .im having a problem with someone or a group of person .they seem to have me sounds weird radio rf tag I know this by going thru fm channels and finding points on my forearm and other places that seize up and get painful when the antenna gets close . is there anything you guys might be able to steer me or know that would help sorry to ask know its a strange request but this organized gang stalking is really hard to fight thanks steven

LambyAngel4 months ago
Very cool! Sounds interesting too.
mauschen5 months ago

is the 3V battery necessary? can you just hook into the USB power on the board & add a resistor to keep the LEDs safe? Or would that detract from power the board needs to function properly?

awesome project.


Anyone able to get this to work with Mac OS 10.9? Thanks!

trecnano9 months ago


I 'm making a research project about EyeWriter and I'm having some problems.It doesn't find my pupil, I've the image of my eye but the programme marks my pupil over my eyelid, why ? can you help me ?



sshamsul10 months ago

hi. Is the ps3 eye camera compatible with LabView? Im currently doing the same project but with LabView.

inZet11 months ago

I was able to compile the EyeWriter 1.0 software on OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard, XCode 3.2.5, using OF 0.8

in file inputManager.cpp at line 75 change vidGrabber.grabFrame() and vidPlayer.idleMovie() to vidGrabber.update()

You should end up with code like this:

if (mode == INPUT_LIVE_VIDEO){

// change from vidGrabber.grabFrame();


bIsFrameNew = vidGrabber.isFrameNew();

} else {

// change from vidPlayer.idleMovie();


bIsFrameNew = vidPlayer.isFrameNew();


binarybosses11 months ago

That's some pretty trippy stuff. And then I was glad to see that the end product was being used for a good cause. Very cool.

visitlynn1 year ago

Hi Everyone,

I built an eyewriter and downloaded the software but have no idea where to start. I watched the videos but I don't have programming skills... is anyone available for a walkthrough on the very basics?

Also, is it possible to use the v2 code for the v1 hardware? Thank you

tuki32 years ago
Does anyone know how to use or run the eye drawing software on windows? i need it now! thanks!
chariama tuki31 year ago
Hi,i also have some trouble in running this software on windows, can you run it now? THANKS!
emdarcher1 year ago
Do you know if this would work for people with really bad cerebral palsy?
I have a cousin who has it since he was a few months old, and his parents neglect to get him anything that could truly enable him to communicate, learn and grow. I really want to give him a chance to have some control. I know there are things like Eagle Eyes that do this but are very expensive.
qquuiinn1 year ago
why is it that most cool hackable things come from game consoles? wiimote, SNES controller, PS2 joysticks, PS3 eye, nun chuck, etc
This is awesome! As an artist, stories like this really hit hard.
trasancos1 year ago
From the research I've done so far, IR-Leds come with many different Radiant Intensity and Angles at the 875nm range, some of which can damage the eye. Any help would be appreciated.
Mandotron2 years ago
What wavelength IR is safe to use?
Mandotron2 years ago
Hi Guys, im really struggling to get the lens - M12x0.5 15.5 centred.

Does anyone from the UK know of a supplier? I have found it in USA but postage is $90.
tuki32 years ago
Does anyone know how to use or run the eye drawing software on windows? i need it now! thanks!
GEARCLUB2 years ago
Hello, Does anyone know how to set the windows input setting so that the PS3 eye camera will work rather than the built-in web-cam. I've disable the web-cam, but it still says in the command promt when running the program that the device ID being used is still "0" and runs the built-in web-cam. Any help with this problem?
lacebassett3 years ago
Thanks guys! Everything worked out great so far. Word to the wise. Make em light. My first version was too heavy to stay on the viewers face.
ahall33 years ago
Great instructable
Does any one have any ideas on how I would be able to create a science fair project out of this
anesteruk3 years ago
Can you please post a combined version of the program for this version of the eyewriter project? I have the tracking software working with the ps3 cam, but cannot figure out how to use the drawing app with the camera. You said you would post the combined version, but I can't find it anywhere! Thanks!
mconway13 years ago
I was listening to a podcast , Brain food Dude, which take the best from all the pod casts each week and plays segments. That is were I heard about the EyeWriter. I cried at the end of the segment. My Best friend cared for her Mother in Law while she slowly lost her battle with ALS. My brother had MS and My Husband who used to be an amazing artist, lost the use of his dominant hand to a drunk driver. I constantly have ideas for things that would make his life easier, but I never take action.....the final thought the speaker had for the audience was "If not now, then when. If not you, then who."
What you are doing here is so remarkable, I can not even find the words to express enough. You are inspiring. You are giving quality to life. You are creating freedom. This is the American Dream...Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That may sound corny, but if you have ever lost any of these, lets just say you appreciate what you do have so much more. THANK YOU
so did you end up making one of these or did you need help making one?
insmac5 years ago
Great to see the work that Bob Wasburn and I did in the 1970's being continued and updated.

We used an ir diode, ir sensor on the glasses, and a Sinclair ZX-81 to allow an ALS patient to communicate with friends and family.

Keep up the cool work!

imonsei insmac5 years ago
This is seriously awesome.

it's things like this that makes me think that humanity has a chance after all :)

on the other hand tho... it will enable people to even more lazy now :D
wonder if you can do anything like that with a wiimote... hmmmmz ;)
It depends on what wavelength of IR LED you are using. Near infrared (800 nm to 1400 nm) is projected on to the retena which means if it is powerful it will burn your retina but infra red over 1400 nm will be blocked by the cornea, which has pain sensors so you will know.


Bottom line; If you get an IR LED that is powerful enough it will damage your eyes.
I don't know that the Wiimote could be used to do eye tracking, but it could pretty easily be rigged up for someone who could move their head. 

This project is awesome, and it's cool that it is inexpensive.  Now I want to see if anyone can improve on those "brain toys" that let you control a fan by thinking.  If they can be made to interpret more specific commands, they could be used in a similar manner to this project.
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