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Webmart Charitable Trust Funds Gaze-Controlled Computer Giving Independence to Disabled Young People

11-10-2009 09:53 AM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: WEBMART

SpecialEffect?s patron, Matt Hampson, and director, Mick Donegan, receive a cheque for £12,000 from the Webmart Charitable Trust to fund a StarGaze computer.

SpecialEffect?s patron, Matt Hampson, and director, Mick Donegan, receive a cheque for £12,000 from the Webmart Charitable Trust to fund a StarGaze computer.

SpecialEffect – a charity dedicated to helping disabled people benefit from advances in games and leisure technology – visited Webmart’s Bicester-based offices today to give a special demonstration of gaze-controlled leisure technology, which is designed to provide severely disabled people with greater independence.

Webmart employees were able to try out games such as Connect 4 and even compose music with a simulated guitar, using only eye movement.

Patron Matt Hampson, ex-England under 21s rugby player, who was paralysed following an accident on the pitch, came along to talk about his appreciation for the work SpecialEffect are doing:

“I wish this technology had been available to me straight after my accident. It would have given me a voice. The StarGaze project is a lifeline to a lot of people and helps them take control of their lives again and find out there’s so much they can still do for themselves.” Hampson now writes for Rugby World and dedicates time to supporting young people in a similar situation.

Donegan, who is widely recognised as a leading expert in gaze-controlled technology, says, “Each StarGaze computer costs around £12,000, and we loan them to people who have been paralysed after a serious injury or illness. We customise the systems to best suit the person we’re trying to help, and teach them and the people supporting them how to use them as effectively as possible. In this way, that they can not only benefit from using the system when they need it most but also have the opportunity to find out if a gaze-controlled computer would benefit them over the longer term."

He pointed out that, currently, not many people are aware of this technology but, in fact, many more people could benefit - including those with a spinal cord injury, brainstem stroke or traumatic brain injury. For a significant number of these, their eyes are the only part of their body over which they have good control.

Read more about SpecialEffect at

About the Webmart Charitable Trust

Print management company, Webmart, created the Webmart Charitable Trust to create support for the less fortunate in our society by allowing them to create sustainable financial, intellectual and emotional gain both for themselves and their community, enabled by grants, donations or loans. In 2008/09 the Trust donated £102,000 to a diverse range of charitable organisations.
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