A new digital instrument enables disabled musicians and students to make music with their eyes.
Called EyeHarp, the assistive technology pairs with eye and head trackers, allowing players to control melodies — including chords, arpeggios, and pitch — with just the tiniest movements. This feature makes EyeHarp uniquely accessible to players with all types of physical and mental disabilities in therapy, teaching, and performance settings.
The technology is also customizable to each user's skill level and can switch between the tones of more than 20 instruments, including piano, flute, trumpet and bass guitar. Watch him at work below, played by 11-year-old Joel Bueno.
According to founder Zacharias Vamvakousis, the idea for the EyeHarp was inspired by one of his musician friends who lost his limbs after a motorcycle accident. Realizing that there was no instrument that quadriplegics could play, Vamvakousis set to work to develop a solution.
One mother wrote of EyeHarp: “[My son] enjoys learning music with the EyeHarp from the comfort of his bed, calmly, focused and with joy. The whole family takes part in this magical moment: his brother hums, his grandmother and I cheer, his father and grandfather each listen from their place in the house. Music connects us.”
Check out Vamvakousis' EyeHarp cover of The Beatles' "Yesterday" here: