Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Eye-Controlled Device


ABC Assistive Technologies specializes in making the world more accessible to people with disabilities. In the past, ABC focused on hearing aids and personal emergency response systems. ABC would like to start providing new products that can be controlled via actions of the face and head. As ABC’s newest electrical engineer, you have been asked to explore using eye blinks to turn on and off devices.

Your primary tool for detecting a blink will be the Vernier EKG Sensor. An EKG sensor is normally used to record the electrical activity of the heart, but it can also record other electrical changes in your body, such as an eye blink. When the nerves fire to activate the muscles that produce a blink, they produce an electrical signal that can be detected with the EKG’s electrodes. Closing the eyelids produces a positive voltage pulse and reopening the eyes produces a negative pulse.

You may choose from a variety of output devices to activate with eye blinks. At this point in product development, ABC simply wants a “proof of concept,” a device that can demonstrate that the proposed technology is feasible.

Your job is to create a prototype of a blink-activated device using a Vernier EKG Sensor, Logger Pro software or a standalone LabQuest 2, and a variety of output devices shown in the Materials list.

Learning Objectives

  • Supplement classroom instruction of the body’s electrical activity and its effects with a hands-on engineering application.
  • Control devices (e.g., LED or buzzers) based on input from measured physical quantities (e.g., EKG trace).

Reference Experiments

Vernier Lab Book Experiment
Biology with Vernier 28 Monitoring EKG
Human Physiology with Vernier 12 Analyzing the Heart with EKG

Sensors and Equipment

Additional Materials

  • DC buzzer
  • DC/120 mA lamp
  • green LED (with resistor)
  • red LED (with resistor)

Construction Materials

  • duct tape
  • cardboard
  • felt sheets
  • colored markers

Download Extension

The download includes student instructions, DCU tips, teacher information, and examples in PDF and Microsoft® Word® formats.

Eye-Controlled Device

About Engineering Extension Activities

Engineering Extension Activities provide a way to add an engineering component to a Vernier science experiment. Use sensor data and Logger Pro software (or LabQuest 2) to help solve an engineering problem.

See All Engineering Extension Activities »

Go to top