We take our ability to communicate for granted. But there are millions of patients who survive for years with no power to express.
TBWA\India has set out to solve this problem with Blink To Speak: the world’s first eye language for patients who have an alert mind but a paralysed body.
Blink To Speak
was conceptualised, designed and developed by TBWA for a non-profit, Asha Ek Hope Foundation, and NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute. After months of research with doctors, patients and caregivers the eye language guide was launched last week.
An estimated 60 million patients around the world live for many years with ALS, MNDs, spinal cord injuries, brain strokes and partial paralysis. And their biggest battle against these fatal disorders is the simple act of communication. The alternative methods of communication currently available, like the E-TRAN board, are very tedious. And the hi-tech assistive tools are unaffordable for most. Medical advances have been able to give them a longer life. But that life is stifled by silence.
They struggle every day to communicate the simplest things to their families or caregivers. Even with an absolutely alert mind, they are at the mercy of others. Accepting what they receive with no power to express.
But with a paralysed body there is one part that doesn’t betray most patients till the every end.
Using the power of eyes, the team at TBWA devised a way to help these patients. Blink To Speak uses 50 simple eye movements to build an extensive eye language. They assigned simple messages commonly needed by patients to basic combinations of eye movements. They created very easy to use sets of eye actions using the 8 alphabets of the eye language - Shut, Blink, Left, Right, Up, Down, Roll and Wink.
With Blink To Speak, patients are now able to express needs and desires. Starting with basic actions like Yes, No, I’m okay they can easily learn the language in a span of 2-3 months, depending on their health condition. With a simple 1 Wink they can ask their family to talk to them. And with 1 Left Wink, 1 Right Wink, 2 Blinks, they can say ‘Thank You’ to their doctor. They can even notify their family about any danger or emergency.
“With advances in medical science, we use treatments like stem-cell therapy to save these patients. But we’re not able to give them a quality life. I believe Blink To Speak is going to benefit innumerable patients around the world.” Said, Dr. Alok Sharma, a leading neurosurgeon and Director of NeuroGen Brain & Spine Insitute. Dr. Hemangi Sane, the Founder President of Asha Ek Hope Foundation who is also an ALS patient added, “Blink To Speak is going to break all barriers of paralysis and help millions to express themselves.”
“The inspiration for the idea came to us when one of our team members was dealing with an ALS patient at home. She would write oft-used messages on the curtains of the room and the patient would point to the pertinent one with his eye. We wanted to create an affordable and practical assistive tool for paralysed patients to communicate. We are proud to have given birth to perhaps the world’s first Eye Language. Our in-depth research points to numerous uses for Blink to Speak and we look forward to making this language a widely available tool for patients and their caregivers. Neurogen and Asha Ek Hope Foundation have been the perfect partners we could have asked for to bring this intellectual property to life”, said Parixit Bhattacharya, Managing Partner – Creative, TBWA\India.