Technology’s Hard Reset
Five years ago graffiti-artist Tempt1 had little hope of ever tagging a building again. The fact that there is now an option for someone completely immobilized to once again leave his mark on the world demonstrates the almost daily sea change technology allows when confronting previously impossible problems.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (or ALS) is a horrifying disease given the inevitability of total paralysis. Particularly scary to me is that despite the near total physical deterioration caused by ALS the patient’s cognitive centers are left untouched effectively trapping him/her in an immovable shell. Astonishingly, the creative minds of Graffiti Research Lab have come up with a way to allow ALS stricken graffiti artist Tempt to once again return to tagging the buildings of the world.
By using eyetracking software, GRL has developed a new input method accessible to those who are fully paralyzed. This eye based input is then recorded by the computer and transferred to one of GRL’s laser graffiti units capable of projecting TEMPT’s tags to nearby buildings (and even his own hospital room from several miles away).
While not everybody is a fan of graffiti, GRL’s laser based tagging is non-destructive, and their creative implementation of new forms of input represent a major step forward for universal accessibility to creative technologies. Furthermore it represents a break in how we think and deal with people who are paralyzed. GRL’s modification of existing technology to meet the needs of the disabled is demonstrative of paradigm shifts that emerge from the creative reuse of technology.