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.
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