Apple has given Made for iPad certification to Hiru, an eye-tracking device that launched in 2020 with compatibility only with Windows platforms. Now the interactive device from the Spanish startup Irisbond also works with the iPad operating systems iPadOS 15 and later. Using AI-based algorithms, Hiru captures the eye movements of the user to give them touch-free control of their devices, technology that offers considerable benefits to those with motor impairments and similar physical disabilities.
The expansion to Apple devices allows Hiru users to navigate iPads through the Assistive Touch menu, using eye-gaze commands to move the cursor around and to click on icons. Hiru can also interface with some of Apple’s alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) apps including TouchChat, designed for people with speech difficulties due to stroke, autism, Down Syndrome, ALS, and other conditions. Hiru is also compatible with some more commonly used multimedia apps including Spotify and YouTube. The uses even extend to everyday activities such as hands-free interactions with ATMs.
Hiru also offers integration with telehealth technology; according to Irisbond, their eye-gaze devices allow patients with disabilities to interact with their healthcare providers during virtual consultations, communicating through a keyboard that’s controlled by their eyes, thus eliminating the need for a caregiver or a family member to interpret. Irisbond says they’ve tailored their eye-tracking software to fit the requirements of individual hospitals with a focus on diagnosis of eye, neurological, and psychological diseases. In Madrid and Barcelona, Irisbond works with ALS units to evaluate and diagnose patients.
Irisbond CEO Eduardo Jauregui says, “Our Made for iPad certification can help accelerate accessibility and inclusivity… [as] Hiru helps users control iPadOS using eye-tracking, and facilitates communication for users with disabilities.” The technology may have greater implications for those who suffer from a range of these disabilities. Irisbond says they’re collaborating with University Hospital of San Sebastian on research into how their devices can monitor eye movements to offer insights into ophthalmological and neurological diseases.