Cursive writing with smooth pursuit eye movements

Curr Biol. 2012 Aug 21;22(16):1506-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2012.06.026. Epub 2012 Jul 26.


The eyes never cease to move: ballistic saccades quickly turn the gaze toward peripheral targets, whereas smooth pursuit maintains moving targets on the fovea where visual acuity is best. Despite the oculomotor system being endowed with exquisite motor abilities, any attempt to generate smooth eye movements against a static background results in saccadic eye movements. Although exceptions to this rule have been reported, volitional control over smooth eye movements is at best rudimentary. Here, I introduce a novel, temporally modulated visual display, which, although static, sustains smooth eye movements in arbitrary directions. After brief training, participants gain volitional control over smooth pursuit eye movements and can generate digits, letters, words, or drawings at will. For persons deprived of limb movement, this offers a fast, creative, and personal means of linguistic and emotional expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disabled Persons / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pursuit, Smooth*
  • Rehabilitation / methods*
  • Writing*
  • Young Adult