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Out of my Element: A Year into Building an Affordable, Head-Tracking Communication Tool

  • UX Y'all 301 W Morgan St Durham, NC, 27701 Durham (map)

Matt Kubota


In the summer of 2018, my girlfriend was admitted to a hospital in New Orleans with a rare neurological disorder that left her temporarily paralyzed and unable to speak. The only way we could communicate with her was with a poster board with the alphabet written on it, saying letter by letter to her until she tilted her head for confirmation. I came back to Durham thinking that there must be a better way to allow those experiencing both paralysis and aphasia to communicate. Throughout the next few months, I collaborated with a couple talented developers at my company during dedicated innovation time to create a head and eye tracking proof-of-concept app. Without my company’s culture of experimentation and the willingness to help from others, this project would never have been realized. The technology has barely been explored by other developers and speech pathologists are excited about the potential impact it can have on their patients. We are currently still working on it and are excited to get it to those that need this affordable solution. Through this talk I want share its origin story, effective and ineffective methods I used to recruit collaborators, and share what’s to come. I also want to share how difficult it was to bring something so personal to my life into a work setting, but how glad I am now that I did. It can build empathy with others and offer a chance for real solutions to be explored with the expertise of others.

Earlier Event: October 3
Pre-Registration Party