Watch the Cork Musician with Cerebral Palsy Playing the Bodhrán Using Only His Eyes

Watch the Cork Musician with Cerebral Palsy Playing the Bodhrán Using Only His Eyes

By Ciara Flaherty

Cork musician Cillian McSweeney, who has cerebral palsy, has taught himself to play the bodhrán using only his eyes.

His condition may confine him to a wheelchair, but last night’s RTÉ News carried a segment on Cillian’s impressive musical skills ahead of International Day for People with a Disability on December 3.

It’s a truly incredible story from their southern editor, Paschal Sheehy.

The assistive technology used is called Eye Gaze. It works by using a special camera mounted beneath a display, which tracks eye movements so the computer can tell where on the screen Cillian is looking.

Each area of the screen represents a different rhythm pattern Cillian has programmed into the software. By holding his gaze on an area, he instructs the robotic assembly to play that rhythm, and voila – drumbeats.

McSweeney, who is also a songwriter, who previously performed his song ‘Equal’ with Cork Music Works at Áras an Úachtaráin in 2011 alongside The Coronas. On that occasion, he used a technology called Soundbeam to play sounds using the movement of his head and feet.

Read the full story here.


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