Lucinda’s eye-controlled Silverstone tour

Wednesday, December 20th, 2023

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Man crouching in front of racing car talking to wheeled tablet robot

SpecialEffect Ambassador Lucinda Ritchie was a guest at the Silverstone Museum in December for a very special tour of its legendary motor racing memorabilia.

Car-mad Lucinda toured the museum from her own living room more than one hundred miles away using a self-driving, two-wheeled videoconferencing robot, which SpecialEffect has adapted so that it can be controlled by eye movement. Lucinda has a degenerative condition that severely limits her movement and her ability to speak, but she navigated the robot around the museum and talked to the guide just by moving her eyes.

SpecialEffect Founder and CEO Dr Mick Donegan said, “We designed the gaze control interface so that people with even the most severe physical difficulties can independently visit and explore anywhere in the world, whether it’s a museum, art gallery or just spend time with their family of friends without the need to travel. She could use a video call on a computer or smartphone to talk to them instead, of course but, by using her telepresent robot, Lucinda feels that it’s much more like actually being there in person.”

“Even though SpecialEffect can’t teleport someone to another part of the planet like they do in Star Trek, at this moment in time, this is the closest we can get!”

With grateful thanks to Rob the wonderful team at the Silverstone Museum for being so welcoming and to ITV’s Nick Smith for his insightful reporting on such an amazing experience for Lucinda, who was voted one of the UK’s most influential disabled people in The Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100 of 2023.

Image credit: ITV News