Making the Impossible Possible: ALS Patient Tony “TEMPT ONE” Quan and the EyeWriter Device

For an ALS patient, an eye gaze system – a type of augmentative speech device that translates eye movements into words – can make it possible to communicate with loved ones when speech is impaired or lost.  But as animation studio owner Mick Ebeling found out, not every patient with advanced ALS has one.  The problem?  They’re big and expensive, and in many cases, US health insurers won’t cover them. This discovery came about when Ebeling learned about a legendary Los Angeles graffiti artist named Tony “TEMPT ONE” Quan (whose “tag” is shown above), who was diagnosed with ALS at age 34.  Quan’s family told him that they were only able to communicate with their completely paralyzed son through spelling out words.  Shocked, Ebeling decided he had to help.  “There are certain inalienable rights that people are entitled to, and I think being able to express yourself is one of them,” says Ebeling, who now gives TED talks (see video below) about this unexpected calling. First, Ebeling convinced Quan’s insurer to cover an eye gaze system so that the talented artist could “speak” again.  But he didn’t stop there.  He wanted Quan to not only be able to communicate but …

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