With Four Oscar Nominations, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” Underscores the Magic of Software

If you’re a movie buff you may have seen or heard of “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”. This is the amazing true story of former Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby. After suffering a debilitating stroke in 1995, Bauby’s only means of communication was by blinking his left eye as letters of the alphabet were recited one at a time by caretakers, friends, and family – an agonizingly slow and frustrating process. Even so, Bauby persisted and through this process “wrote” his memoir which was published in the spring of 1997. Blink by blink, a letter becomes a word, words become sentences, sentences become paragraphs, and paragraphs become Bauby’s memoir. Now a movie, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is up for four Oscar nominations.

I’m in awe and inspired that Bauby prevailed in writing and publishing his book. It makes me wonder what else he had to say. What other thoughts, ideas, fears, and insights went unspoken because of the painfully slow process of communicating, and the lack of modern day technology?

If Bauby were alive today, his story could have been told very differently. Technology innovations from companies like Tobii Technology are enabling people with disabilities to communicate in ways never before imagined. Their My Tobii solution provides eye-tracking hardware and software for individuals whose only means of communicating is with their eyes. By tracking eye movement across a computer screen, users are able to type words and messages. For people unable to speak or use their hands, this technology unlocks the ability to communicate and connects them with society. Imagine if, Bauby had access to this technology back in 1995.

Tobii Technology in Sweden was recently featured as a first round winner in The Ingenuity Point contest - a worldwide contest open to ISVs around the globe which are making a profound difference in the areas of healthcare, education, and the environment.

Come Oscar night, I’ll be pulling for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” in honor of companies like Tobii Technology and other ISVs who make the world a better place.

Susan Tellep

The Ingenuity Point Program Manager

If you have a solution in healthcare, education or the environment to share with the world, I invite you to enter your solution at The Ingenuity Point . Hurry, all contest entries are due by February 28th, 2008.