Project Cheyenne: Tobii Acer

For those just joining the series let me recap for you.

I have a beautiful sister Cheyenne, who cannot talk, move or effectively communicate with the family.

She has a myriad of problems suffering from debilitating seizures, issues caused by her cerebral palsy, and a whole bunch of medical issues that I actually have no idea how to spell let alone say.

So for the last year, I’ve been trialing tools on my sister to be able to help her communicate with the rest of us.

This has involved software that turns your laptop camera into a type of eye tracking, headwear that tracks your brainwaves so you can control your computer and now the Tobii eye tracking Acer laptop, the consumer laptop that comes with eye tracking.

I had excitedly used this for gaming, and work (you can check out the full review here) but I was keen to get this in front of my sister to see if at last, I had found an affordable (in terms of eye tracking tech) product that my sister could use to finally tell us all how she feels…or to tell us finally…to shut up.

Excitedly I took the laptop from Australia to NZ, I was so excited I did a demo for NZ customs as they looked through my bags on suspicion that I was bringing in drugs.

When I got to my Mum’s home I gave my sister the Tobii Acer laptop….

Calibrating Cheyenne’s eye tracking thanks to #Tobii Mum insisting Cheyenne wants a drink… FYI she didn’t 😂

A post shared by Princess McAwesome (@charismcawesome) on

Needless to say, my Mum was TOTES excited and the fact that she could just turn on the laptop and the eye tracking started working made my not-so-technical mother extremely happy.

The Tobii eye tracking instantly picked up my sister’s eyes, without any issue or calibration required.

So after making sure, my Mum was comfortable with the computer and Tobii’s fancy schmancy eye tracking technology, I left her to it as I traveled back to Australia.

Excitedly Mum took the laptop to my sister’s school where the therapists began to message me about the laptop, to see if they could download programs, test, trial etc.

I managed to convince my Mum to get the laptop back off the therapists as they had commandeered the laptop….for 3 weeks.

There was no new software on the laptop, but I did notice that my steam account had been used…

The reality hit though when last week I got a phone call from my Mum.

Cheyenne hadn’t been using her laptop all that much, progress with her had been slow and there was a very good reason.

Intuitively my sister could detect that she could move the eye tracking bubble.

However, every instruction we had been giving her had fallen on deaf ears….literally.

My sister had been diagnosed as being deaf and was now on the waiting list for hearing aids.

All of the instructions I had given my sister, slowly talking her through how to use the Tobii eye technology, the Acer laptop, had been metaphorically hitting a brick wall.

I had full intentions of being able to take you through the intricacies, the trials, and joys, of what my beautiful baby sister had been experiencing with the Tobii Acer eye-tracking laptop.

Unfortunately, this is part one of two, as I now have to wait for my sister to get her hearing aids, introduce her to language and then instruct her as to how to use the fancy schmancy Tobi eye tracking Acer laptop.

So instead of this article being able to tell you what to expect, I regretfully have to inform you that it will have to wait until my sister has had her hearing aids implanted.

Until then Project Cheyenne is officially on hold 🙁

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Charis McAwesome

Charis McAwesome is a social media client project manager to companies including Microsoft, Intel, Lenovo, Deloitte, banks and many more on behalf of Digivizer. By day, she provides digital strategy and big data analysis, by night she may provide news on the podcast & when she doesn't, makes up for it by writing articles instead.