EDM artist David Anderson performs a live New Years Eve set with just his eyes. That's all he can move - He has ALS :)
For those of you reading this project after the official Kickstarter has ended, please visit
for the latest information and project progress and myriad ways to continue to support us and this amazing project.
thank you all!
11.16.12 UPDATE: Thank you all again for the amazing support! 7 more days to go. We have set a new goal of $40,000 for our project.
With that amount, not only do we completely fund the New Year's experience and get David's technical solutions working for that evening, but we are able to fully fund 4 months of dedicated R&D and production into more sophisticated communication systems. The additional budget allows for:
1) Purchase of all three of the leading eye tracking hardware solutions to enable us to evaluate their approaches and modify them accordingly
2) Dedicated Project Management resources to assist David in the requirements gathering, resourcing, goal setting and other minutiae of a project like this
3) New hardware platforms for testing (e.g. iPad, Win8 tablets, etc.)
4) Pizza and beer for the volunteer team of coders, hackers and other misfits we're assembling
5) Organized outreach to the broad ALS community to incorporate more date into the trials and development
6) a lot of love and gratitude.
These next 7 days are super important! onwards and upwards to $40K!
We've also added a new reward:
$75: This is the "Local 612" special. For this level, you get 1 ticket to the event on NYE, plus the DVD and a special gift at the door of the event.
10.28.12: THANK YOU ALL FOR THIS AMAZING SUPPORT. WE ARE AT OUR GOAL BUT WE ARE NOT STOPPING. To learn about our expanded scope click on the Update section (above) and view a video of thanks from David.
Produce 1 Blink = YES a music DVD from the DJ David Anderson
David Anderson is a Minneapolis based DJ known for his genre spanning music that aligns around the single purpose of getting a dance floor to move, and to move like it never has before. Having spun music for the greater part of 10 years - from Seattle to NYC to Burning Man, and lots of places in between - David has yet to formally record and release one of his live sets.
This Kickstarter project will enable David to perform a New Year's set this December and record that set for production into a special release CD and DVD. Sounds simple right? Well...read on...
Getting David to perform this New Year's Eve and produce a live set is a bit more challenging because he is in the later stages of ALS. This degenerative nerve disorder has left him without the ability to meaningfully move any part of his body except his eyes and has confined him 24/7 to a hospital bed with a ventilator to assist with breathing. While David has access to some great eye tracking hardware, the complexity of integrating it with DJ software and enabling the scenarios to DJ live are not for the faint of heart. To support this crazy idea of getting David to lay down a live DJ set for NYE, and to have it recorded and cut into a CD/DVD, a team of software and hardware experts, hackers, engineers, musicians, videographers, project managers and other talented individuals have banded together to produce this live set and ultimately the CD/DVD that follows.
Work has already begun on building the necessary software bridges between the eye-tracking hardware and David’s software DJ platforms of choice. The custom code and hardware hacks will be documented and eventually open sourced. The mods and hacks are accounted for in the budget. All of this experience will inform a follow-on project where the team takes what we learn and generalize it to a broader, more dynamic communication platform for David and others.
Even before ALS encroached on David's life, his music and his message was one of inspiration and hope and love. Watching him make music with just his eyes amplifies that power, and capturing a live set will take it to a whole other level.
Our current operating budget for this project is allocated as:
Hardware acquisition and hacking mods: $3000
Software licenses: $500. We anticipate needing to acquire a few pieces of software for both testing, operations and coding.
Middleware and client side programming: $1000. While most of the coding hours will be donated, we do anticipate needing to hire some specialized engineering work. We will beg to have it donated but we can't count on it.
Video Support: $1000. For the DVD portion of the set
New Year's Eve Party Support. $1500. This line item includes a small amount of budgetary support for the party. The largest line here is for medical support for David to attend the party and DJ the set live.
Post Production Work: $3500
CD/DVD Production: $2500
Kickstarter Reward fulfillment: Much of the monetary value of the rewards are being donated, but we anticipate an outlay of $1500 to cover shipping and other related production costs.
Cost overruns: $500
Our project is laser focused on creating an amazing CD/DVD of some inspiring and beautiful music. But as you have seen in the video there are some other "softer" goals as well. The team is embarking on a multi-phase, ambitious project to knit together the necessary pieces of hardware and software to create this event and this music - this Kickstarter is the first phase. We are visionary forward thinkers and in many ways we see this project as the first step in a process of rethinking and redesigning how people with mobility limited to their eyes can have more effective and expressive ways of communicating. Rest assured, that any money above and beyond what we raise will serve this goal. In fact, as we stated above, this project will directly inform and lead into a future project to build better technology for David and others with ALS, MS and other situations where eye movement is the primary mode of communication. The technology is there - we just need some super smart people to knit it all together :)
Q. Why is this whole thing written in the third person?
A. The artist, David, is deeply and daily involved in this project. But, as it stand now, typing out a long and detailed kickstarter description with his eyes is a pretty laborious. Instead, the team has worked with David to author this description and we chose to use the third person for convenience. Great question, btw.
Q. Why a live set?
A. While David's music is central to this project, the other key piece is capturing the audience vibe, reaction and energy when the DJ plays his set with just his eyes from his hospital bed. We believe that the exchange between David and the audience is just as important to capture as the music itself. In fact, we expect the audience at the party (as well as everyone who watches the DVD after the fact) to be profoundly moved by the experience. An obvious interpretation of this project would be "what a great thing for David", but David (and his team) see this the opposite as just as important - "what a great thing for the world - to see connect with someone DJing with just their eyes". David's gifts are enormous and his presence with ALS has only amplified those - he has a lot to say and to tell us. We are creating the forum for that.
Q. There seems to be a lot of engineering work required to pull this off. Can you do it in time?
A. Although we have just launched our Kickstarter, the planning for this CD/DVD has been underway for several months and we are hitting all of our planned milestones and deliverables. We see little execution risk at this point.
Q. You are putting a lot of work in to create just one event/CD/DVD. Is there a plan to reuse all this work?
A. Absolutely. While this Kickstarter is about creating the CD/DVD, we are approaching the entire scenario as a learning opportunity to figure out the best ways to enable David to communicate with just his eyes. Our long term goal is to take this project of enabling him to DJ again and roll that out into a more general communication platform for anyone who wants to use their eyes as the primary input into their devices.
Q. Have you seen this? http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/571943958/tempt1-and-eyewriter-art-by-eyes
A. YES! this was a huge inspiration to us. And if you know these people please tell them to get in touch with us....we've tried to reach them! Since the time of that project, eye tracking hardware has come super far. There are really cool companies like Grinbath and others making super affordable, high quality eye tracking hardware. What's missing is the software side of the house. Part of our project will involve a deep dive into the hardware side of the equation.
Q. I don't have money to pledge right now, but I want to particiapte!
A. yes! we need you. Don't be shy - reach out to us. We need volunteers for the party in Minneapolis. We need software geeks and hardware hackers. We need creative minds and awesome problems solves. And we could always use more project management help. let us know you want to help and we can figure it out.
Q. Is there more information?
Q. Enough already with all this "technology this, ALS that"....what about this party!? give me the details!
A. The specific details of the New Year's Eve Party are still being worked out. But, it will be in Minneapolis and it will be New Year's Eve. Stay tuned for more details on that.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We are already well underway in the technical implementations required to enable David to produce music. We are knitting together the hardware and software and have prototypes working.
The greatest risk comes from the day to day situation of David's health and the chance that on the day of New Year's Eve he may not be able to physically attend the party. We have already developed back up technology to allow a live link from his house to the party to allow him to DJ regardless of where he is.
yup! can't wait to see you there!
The video was filmed this summer when David still had the limited ability to move his legs and point with his toes. Since then, ALS has considered to progress and his ability to move his legs has decreased considerably.