Eye Gaze technology helps man pen book

MARIETTA — Kevin Enners, a junior at Kennesaw State University and member of the Wheeler High…

Georgia (Apr 6, 2015)MARIETTA — Kevin Enners, a junior at Kennesaw State University and member of the Wheeler High School Class of 2012, has written a book using his eyes. 

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http://www.mdjonline.com/view/full_story/26561017/article-Eye-Gaze-technology-helps-man-pen-book

Enners was born with cerebral palsy and dystonia, disorders that severely limit his ability to move his limbs. He wrote and published his first novella, “The Crave,” using Tobii Eye Gaze, a communication device that tracks eye movement to transcribe words.

“I love writing because there’s no restrictions,” the communications major said. “Creative writing requires no prerequisites. Anybody can do it. You just have to know a little about the topics of your stories.”

For the 21-year-old, writing serves as more than a creative outlet. It’s a way for the Kennesaw State University student to dispel misconceptions of disability limitations.

“The Crave” is a piece of fiction that details Boston Police Detective Mike Craven’s fight against corruption in the south Boston police department and his plan for revenge against Flintlock Flanagan, a murderous mobster. 

The crime thriller’s main character is far from the archetypal hero and for good reason, Enners said.

Craven has mild cerebral palsy, which affects the left side of his body. 

“I came up with the idea for a character with cerebral palsy while watching a TV crime drama,” he said. “I have seen and read about heroes of all kinds stepping in and saving the day. Typical heroes are big, strong and athletic. I had to show the world a real hero — one who had no gifts, just grit and sheer determination. That was when Mike Craven was born.”

Enners wrote the book using special ocular transcribing technology, typing one letter at a time. He has to stare at a particular letter for about five seconds for the technology to type it on a screen, according to Claudette Enners, his mother.

“It’s a communicative augmentation device as well as a computer for which he uses (Microsoft) Word and PowerPoint,” she said. He does a movie blog and goes on Facebook (with it). He uses (it) to write his papers for class. It’s been a lifesaver because he’s been able to write the book. He’s been able to participate in class and do presentations as opposed to getting special accommodations. If he doesn’t need accommodations, he doesn’t want them.”

She said her son’s coupled disorders and their impact on his movability is what amazes her about his accomplishments.

“To be able to create a story and maintain the consistency of it when you are limited to how quickly you can get it out of your head and onto a page —that’s what I find amazing. It’s slower than typing with one finger. It’s not the Tobii that takes a long time. It’s the movement disorder. He’s constantly fighting with his body. It’s a constant fight and so that’s what slows him down.”

Kevin Enners was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, but never let his disability deter him from doing anything he wanted — including physical activities. 

“I don’t know if I’d be a writer if I didn’t have a disability,” he said. “I consider myself a jock.”

He competes in various duathlons and half marathons with his father, Rich, when he’s not writing.

“My current bike is a modified three-wheeled recumbent Sun bike,” Enners said. “We have been competing in road races since I was 2 years old. Initially, I was pushed in a jogging stroller. I also ran using my walker. We have competed in so many races — each one fun — but my favorite race was the Thanksgiving Day half-marathon in Atlanta.”

It was during the time of being a “jock” that Enners found an opportunity to introduce “The Crave” to the public. While in Washington, D.C. with his father to participate in the Marine Corps Marathon, Kevin Enners met a representative from a publishing company headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, called Mascot Books, which published the novella.

Claudette Enners said although the editing process has been an arduous one, the publication of the book was an accomplishment her son achieved on his own.

“He did this all on his own and to me that was amazing,” she said. “When he finished with the book, I asked him ‘What are you going to do next?’ and he said ‘I’m going to find a publisher.’ And, sure enough, he did. He did this all on his own. He has two older sisters, Jaclyn and Lauren, and I think that’s why he thinks the way he does. He thinks ‘What’s the big deal? I can do what they do.’ He has a fabulous attitude.”

In addition to working on a sequel to his novel, Kevin Enners works as a staff writer for Kennesaw State University’s student newspaper “The Sentinel.”

“The Crave” can be purchased at www.civinmediarelations.com/The-Crave.html or on amazon.com.

 



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

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