For Mick Ebeling, founder of production company the Ebeling Group, and Elliot Kotek, current editor-in-chief of Beyond Cinema Magazine, the mission statement for Not Impossible Labs, the company they co-founded in 2009, is simple: “Technology for the sake of humanity.”
The impetus for Not Impossible, which creates devices to aid the disabled, came about when the two men heard the story of Los Angeles urban artist Tempt One (aka Tony Quan), who is paralyzed due to ALS. Unable to move his body, talk or breathe without assistance, Tempt One needed a device that could help him perform daily functions and create art.
The result: the Eyewriter, a low-cost (less than $100) open-source eyeglass device that uses off-the-shelf computer components and free software to allow the wearer to communicate through eye movement.
These days, Ebeling and Kotek work with a team of creatives on two or three large projects each year — Project Daniel, for instance, uses 3D Printers to make prosthetic arms for children of war in South Sudan — and grant public access to their work, so that anyone can recreate the devices. “That’s part of our philosophy of open source,” Ebeling says.
For an encore, Not Impossible is developing the Brainwriter, which Kotek describes as taking the Eyewriter “from blink to think.” The new tool reads basic brain waves to engage and disengage a computer mouse, which allows the user to draw via his or her thoughts. “We’ll be able to serve people not able to use their eyes to engage and disengage,” Ebeling explains. “You’re matching muscular with brain waves. I think it’s going to be a pretty incredible tool.”