Assistive Technology Pioneer Patrick Joyce Has Passed Away

We are once again saddened to report the loss of another great hacker. Patrick Joyce has passed away after a decade-long struggle with ALS/MND. Patrick was the team captain of Eyedriveomatic, the Grand Prize winning hardware from the 2015 Hackaday Prize. The loss of Patrick comes quickly after receiving word on Monday about the death of Patrick’s teammate, Steve Evans.

Despite the challenges Patrick faced in the final years of his life he was a prolific hardware hacker. He and his team won the Hackaday Prize in 2015 for designing a system which allowed electric wheelchairs to be controlled with eye gaze software without altering the chairs themselves (which are often not owned by the user). But he was also a finalist in the Assistive Technologies challenge of the 2016 Hackaday Prize. The Raimi’s Arm project set its goal at creating bionic arms for kids — a noble and worthy challenge for everyone to undertake. Check out Patrick’s profile page and you’ll see he has also built an open source head mouse (an alternative to eye gaze controls) and a headphone robot which allowed him to put on and take off his own headphones.

I find it amazing what he achieved in his work considering the physical limitations placed before him. Patrick had limited use of one hand which he used with a joystick for mouse control. His typing was done using eye gaze. Yet he managed to design and document a number of incredible creations. This is inspiring.

Reflect on this loss to our community, but take comfort in the fact that his work lives on. Cody Barnes, the software developer for the Eyedrivomatic, plans to continue work on the project. If you are interested in helping to make that open source assistive tech available to more people who need it, now is a great time to send a private message to Cody to learn more about getting involved.

21 thoughts on “Assistive Technology Pioneer Patrick Joyce Has Passed Away

  1. So sorry to hear this and shocked at the passing of both Steve & Patrick in such a short space of time. True game changers, condolence’s to both families I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that you’ve lost some special guys but both leave a massive legacy anyone should be proud of.

  2. May he ride through the glorious machine halls of Valhalla for all eternity, creating to his heart’s greatest desires forever and ever. Humanity weeps for its lost son, may his well lived life change us all for the better. Amen.

  3. Both of them gone, our loss is squared. They were making quite a bit of light… it’s gotten dimmer here. They took it with them. We’ll see them whole and holding the light to guide our way come that time… those kind of souls it’s certain…

    As for the afterlife debate… which isn’t an issue I really care to debate as it’s each to their own and I’ve experienced every possible kind of fool opinion, including my own… and such a debate is foolish and just simply doesn’t belong here…

    Is an afterlife and do believe – live on – you win!
    Is an afterlife and do not believe – lost – you screwed up big!
    No afterlife and do believe – nothing – nothing
    No afterlife and do not believe – nothing – nothing

    Easiest choice in the world to make…
    If there’s nothing, then I won’t care, and didn’t hurt a single bit to try cause at least got to help make the world a bit better.
    But I’d really really really REALLY hate having screwed up!

    1. Actually “Is an afterlife and do not believe — lost” isn’t a given. There are many other ideas among the world’s religions about afterlife which don’t amount to getting tortured for all eternity if you didn’t give daddygod enough attaboys in firstlife. Reincarnation is the most obvious, but some mystical traditions also posit an afterlife which most of us won’t get, which has to be attained by work and scholarship and ritual practice in this life.

      1. That’s valid. No contest. Fits the top two and assumes multiple passes. Hopefully not too many as an earthworm. There are a lot of examples proposing memories of past lives can be accessed by hypnotic regression, often rather compelling, and has ties to lucid dreaming as well. There is ample evidence to support believing “something” rather than “nothing”. You can’t prove “nothing”.

    2. FSR I now have Don’t tell me what love can do from Van Hagar stuck in my head. Great song from an excellent album.

      My condolences to the families of these great men. I complain about the mundane whilst having full mobility, others take the lemons life gave them and make things that better the world!

  4. So sad to hear of Patrick’s Passing. RIP. For those of us who continue to use – Assistive Technology. We never think of the inventor. And Patrick was always one step in front of this debilitating disease. MND/A LS/Lou Gehrig’s disease, and in many more diseases where such technology is of a great benefit. I as a patient with MND have been using – Voice Recognition for many years. And if my voice fails, then Patrick has designed another one that I can benefit from: “Eye Gaze” thank you Patrick. May you be welcomed by God the most high.!

  5. Extremely saddening news. Both Patrick and Steve were inspirational figures. I’d been following Patrick’s meticulous and detailed progress on his Raimi’s Arm project with fascination – I wonder if there would be any scope for a community to adopt the project and finish it to Patrick’s specs?

    1. Personal experience. YMMV.

      There is no counting the number of small works that beg a moment of your help, so you provide it and then walk away. This is not one of them.

      The handicapped need your help to improve their whole life, not just the bit of their life until you leave and then it breaks.

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