ALS Worldwide welcomes any questions or comments you might have.  We provide free, personalized and confidential support services to anyone in the ALS community—whether you are a patient or a loved one, friend, health care professional or caregiver of someone diagnosed.

Get help now! Fill out the Online Profile Form or if you would prefer to talk with someone by email or phone first, please contact us at [email protected] or 1-414-831-6879.

For all other inquiries, please use the email form to the right and we will respond promptly to your request.Thank you.

ALS Worldwide
1800 North Prospect Avenue, Suite 4B
Milwaukee, WI 53202

ALS Worldwide
September 15, 2015


When it comes to affordable communication technology, ALS/MND patients often have few options. Even the base models and software can cost thousands of dollars – and, when not covered by insurance, purchasing one can be a devastating expense for a family.

This is an issue that touched software developer Julius Sweetland personally when his aunt was diagnosed with ALS/MND. Following her passing, he set out to develop a new option that could be made readily available to patients for just a fraction of the cost of traditional eye tracking software. This determination led to OptiKey, a brand new program that allows patients to utilize a computer keyboard using only their eyes.

Sweetland spoke to ALS Worldwide of his inspiration for the hands-free typing program, which has been developed over the last three and a half years: “It's a terrible disease and I wanted to try and make software that could help people in similar situations communicate with their loved ones without having to spend a fortune or wait for insurance companies. I found, and still find, the stories of people dying without adequate access to these tools heartbreaking.”

The software was created as a passion project in his spare time, all while balancing a full-time job and a family, including his new five-month-old son named Harry who Sweetland says sometimes sits on his lap and “mashes the keyboard while he’s working on OptiKey.”

OptiKey can be used on a Windows computer for as low as $100, which includes the purchase of an eye tracker. (It can also be used on Mac computers by using a program called Parallels.) Sweetland is currently in the process of getting a formal trial arranged with the Putney Royal Hospital for Neurodisability in London, but until then, OptiKey itself is completely free, open-source, and downloadable at The website also lists a number of eye tracker options if you do not already own one. You can test the software using a mouse as well.

ALS Worldwide is pleased to inform our readers about this wonderful contribution to the ALS/MND community and we hope you will benefit from it.

To see OptiKey in action, watch the following video, created by a team at MIT.