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A brush strokeFrom Ace Centre projects

DECO (2003-2004)


The DECO (Dasher Eye Control Optimisation) project offered the potential to help many people with severe physical difficulties to write with both an ease and speed which, until recently, was not considered possible – many times quicker, in fact, than the commonly used specialised hardware and software.

Over a period of one year, Dasher, the acclaimed writing software innovation from Cambridge University’s Inference Group, was used with five young people aged between 12-22 who have severe physical difficulties and are in full-time education. They trialled Dasher with a selection of the most popular eye control and head movement systems. The ACE Centre and the Inference Group collaborated in using the results to produce a version of Dasher that optimised its potential for use with eye control systems.

  • To trial Dasher and modify it, as appropriate, with a view to optimising its efficacy, both in relation to its use with an eye control system and the comfort of those with severe physical difficulties using this technology for extended periods of time.
  • To compare a selection of eye control systems – ie the ‘Eye Gaze’ system from the US and the ‘Visioboard’ system from France – in relation to their performance with Dasher.


  • Install and set up eye control systems for a small group of young people with severe physical disabilities.
  • To modify the software and hardware in relation to their requirements.
  • To provide the young people with an opportunity to compare two leading eye control systems in relation to their efficacy with Dasher.
  • At the end of a year-long cycle of evaluation, revision and review, to produce a version of Dasher, specifically tailored for use with eye control systems.


  • An enhanced version of Dasher that takes account of the challenges, yet capitalises on the opportunities presented by eye control technology, available free from the Inference Group Website.
  • An edited video of end users.
  • A project report will be published the websites of ACE Centre and The Inference Group.
  • A booklet related to the ACE Centre’s Factors for Success series about using ‘non-touch’ eye and head control technology.



Funding agencies

The Gatsby Foundation, other