11 September 2023

SpecialEffect celebrate 20th anniversary gaze control breakthrough

Man in hospital bed looking up to a screen. Dr Donegan sits beside him

This month, SpecialEffect are celebrating the 20th Anniversary of when Dr Mick Donegan, their Founder and CEO, developed the first, ground-breaking Tobii gaze control interface with coder Kirk Ewing.

This was not only a watershed moment for people with severe motor challenges all over the world, but it also helped to give Mick the confidence and drive to create the charity SpecialEffect.

Since 2007, the SpecialEffect has made a significant global impact on the quality of life of people with motor challenges throughout the world through enhanced access to video games, creativity, communication, and control. Tobii’s Chief Product Officer, Markus Cederlund, said:

“As this Monday, September 11th, 2023, marks the 20th anniversary of the first eye gaze-controlled computer interface that is today used to control Tobii Dynavox communication aids, we want to thank one of the true innovators in the field, Mick Donegan, for your hard work and dedication to pioneer accessibility and eye tracking. We share your passion to empower people with disabilities and will continue to develop solutions that give people a voice and a more inclusive life.”

Image: Mick Donegan introducing Rob Camm, now a SpecialEffect Trustee, to gaze control in 2013