Hawkeye Access

Two months ago I had the opportunity to attend the Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference down in Orlando. I can’t even begin to describe the week that I spent there, learning from fellow AT professionals and vendors.

Unfortunately, just like with any amazing conference, there is absolutely too much content to begin to process until much after the conference ends.

Fortunately, there are many ways to keep track of these new ideas and concepts that one wants to go back and explore- many open tabs on my cell phone, saved tabs on my laptop, pages of notes, many photographs, and an entire folder of apps on my phone that I open and try out as I have time.

One of these new apps is called Hawkeye Access. This was one of the first apps that I tried out after the conference and found myself incredibly impressed with it’s ease of use. After multiple uses, I decided tonight to try it one more time and then share it here.

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Hawkeye Access is an iOS app that allows users to navigate many features of a cell phone with only their eyes and no extra equipment. Once the app is installed, it uses the front facing “selfie” camera to read your eye movements to control the screen.

The added bonus to this app is that it is a free app in the Apple App store. It does require a device running iOS 12.0 or later and has a requirement of being 17 years old to download.

When you open Hawkeye Access, you get a screen that prompts to you calibrate. Once you select this, you then are asked to look at a blue dot in various areas on the screen. Each time you look at the dot, it picks up on the location of your eyes and then moves the dot to a new location.

This process of calibration really made me start thinking about how I move my eyes while using my phone. This video shows a demonstration of the way the app reads your eyes as you move them.

The image to the right is a view of the screen that appears once the device is calibrated. You can chose in the app’s settings how you want to select. You can choose to make a selection by blinking, staring at a specific point, or smiling. I have found that the smiling works very well for me and doesn’t need to be a huge smile for it to work.

The first time I used this app, it was in a vehicle while being driven down a bumpy road, and I was impressed by how accurately it read where I was looking and selected at the smallest raises of the corners of my mouth.

I will admit, that at first it took a little getting used to, but after only five minutes, I was able to navigate the internet, watch videos on Youtube and update my Twitter feed. One of the features that I really appreciated of Hawkeye Access is that it automatically begins listening for speech anytime you select a search bar.

 
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Hawkeye Access is definitely an app that will stay on my phone and will be put into my list of apps that are options for students that I work with who struggle with motor control.

For more information Hawkeye Access has a website: https://www.usehawkeye.com/