The Eyewriter

Prepared By Golan Levin

The Eyewriter

Members of Free Art and Technology (FAT), OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab, and The Ebeling Group communities have teamed-up to create a low-cost, open source eye-tracking system that will allow ALS patients to draw using just their eyes.

“Art is a tool of empowerment and social change, and I consider myself blessed to be able to create and use my work to promote health reform, bring awareness about ALS and help others.”~ Tempt One

Graffiti artist Tony Quan wearing Eyewriter glasses


In 2003, Los Angeles-based graffiti writer, publisher, and activist Tony Quan, aka TEMPT1, was diagnosed with late-stage Lou Gehrig’s disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (AML), which has left him almost completely physically paralyzed except for his eyes.

In response, members of Free Art & Technology (F.A.T.), OpenFrameworks, the Graffiti Research Lab, and The Ebeling Group worked together with TEMPT1 to develop an open source, low-cost eye-tracking device and software to allow the artist, as well as other ALS patients, to draw on a computer screen using only their eyes. Projecting the resulting images live onto the sides of buildings has enabled the paralyzed street artist back onto the street to engage in the larger dialogue of art, graffiti, and urbanism on a heretofore-unprecedented scale.

The long-term goal of the EyeWriter is to link together an international network of developers, hackers, and artists suffering from AML-induced paralysis to implement local materials and open source software in creating this device. In the open source spirit of the project, the team has published a tutorial on the website, enabling almost anyone with the time and materials to construct their own EyeWriter—the result is a proliferation of EyeWriter varieties by makers all over the world.

After seven years of immobility, TEMPTONE now uploads the graffiti designs he makes with this technology directly from his EyeWriter to a Flickr account online.

TEMPT1, Tony Quan's graffiti tag name

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Acknowledgements & Credits

Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.), OpenFrameworks, The Graffiti Research Lab, and the Ebeling Group

The EyeWriter


Adapted from the 'NEW ART/SCIENCE AFFINITIES'. Published by the Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University and the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and available at 

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