In 2003, L.A. street artist TemptOne was diagnosed with ALS. Due to the paralyzing effects of the disease, by 2009 he had no hope of spray painting any wall again. That is, until a collective of hacktivists developed the Eyewriter at the Not Impossible Labs.The Eyewriter was an open source wearable eye tracker that gave Tempt back the creative outlet he had lost. The system was able to trace Tempt’s eye movements and project them onto the side of a building. The Eyewriter couldn’t have been more effective, but Tempt would eventually lose all motor control of even his eyes, so the team at Not Impossible accepted it as a challenge and develop a next generation device using a BCI called the BrainWriter. At eyewriter.org, the team said,
“The long-term goal is to create a professional/social network of software developers, hardware hackers, urban projection artists and ALS patients from around the world who are using local materials and open source research to creatively connect and make eye art. “
Not Impossible is a blog-for-the-people that believes in “technology for the sake of humanity” which the BrainWriter exemplifies. With the mantra of “Help one, Help many” the project is reaching out to more than just Tempt. The project is, and has always been, open source. It’s not for-profit because, the team says, it would be more expensive for the user.