We were introduced to the marvelous instrument that is the EyeWriter through our Creator James Powderly—it’s an open source project from Powderly, Zach Lieberman, Evan Roth, the Graffiti Research Lab and a few others that has allowed legendary graffiti artist Tony Quan (a.k.a. Tempt1) to draw with his eyes.
Tempt1’s tags are well known in his native L.A., but the artist was stricken with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and subsequently lost all motor capabilities in his body except for his eyes. With the EyeWriter, he was able to carry on tagging, using his eyes to draw and communicate.
It’s one of those life-affirming stories where we witness the potential of technology, collaboration and a great deal of ingenuity to yield a cheap, affordable and innovative product that can make a massive difference in someone’s life—not to mention, a whole slew of exciting and unexplored other applications—and as such, is great fodder for a documentary. Which is exactly what’s happened with Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story from director Caskey Ebeling.
The documentary tells the story of how Caskey’s husband, Mick Ebeling, via his Not Impossible Foundation and the aforementioned open source all-stars, made EyeWriter so that Tempt1 could once again make art. In the process they created a groundbreaking system that allows all sufferers of ALS, as well as the able-bodied, to control computers (even video games) through the use of just their eyes.