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Athens News Agency: News in English, 11-11-22

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] The EyeHarp, an eye-tracking based musical instrument
  • [02] Athens Newspaper Headlines
  • [03] Television head arrested for unpaid taxes

  • [01] The EyeHarp, an eye-tracking based musical instrument

    AMNA--A close friend's accident and a film about a quadriplegic, 'The Sea Inside', were two profound moments in Zacharias Vamvakousis' life that changed his outlook and way of thought. Those were the moments when the now 28-year old Vamvakousis decided to use his love of music to contribute to improving the lives of people with severe mobility problems, and thus the EyeHarp was born.

    "I believe that we feel happy only when we contribute to the people around us, and through music we can give beauty to those around us," Vamvakousis tells AMNA.

    The EyeHarp project, part of Vamvakousis' master thesis in Sound and Music Computing at the Pompeu Fabra University (UPF) in Barcelona, Spain, last June, under the supervision of Rafael Ramirez, is a musical instrument for people with severe mobility difficulties, including quadriplegics who have only the use of their eyes.

    Indeed, the main goal of the project is to allow people with paralysis resulting from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis to play music using only their eyes.

    Using special software and a camera, the user is able to compose music in real-time and play melodies only through eye movement or head movement.

    Vamvakousis tested the functionality of his EyeHarp at the Foundation for Cerebral Palsy (paralysis) in Catalonia, where patients had the opportunity to play music by simply moving their heads.amna

    The EyeHarp is compatible with all mouse-operated equipment, and can also be used by people with a lesser degree of mobility impairment.

    The software is specially designed for use with eye-trackers, but because these are usually high cost, Vamvakousis developed his own, low-cost device.

    Zacharias Vamvakousis was born and raised in Athens, and received his degree from the University of Athens' department of Informatics and Telecommunications. He also has a degree in classic harmony and the accordion. For years he played the accordion in several musical ensembles together with his brother Elias, who is a composer, musician and singer.amna

    Vamvakousis' next goal, in the doctorate programme he is following at the same university (UPF), in collaboration wit his old alma mater (at the University of Athens), is to investigate additional ways of interaction for people with mobility impairments, such has whether electroencephalograph devices can be used for one to play a melody only through thought (brainwaves), and also the adaptation of the musical instrument to the specific needs of people suffering from a variety of disabilities.

    [02] Athens Newspaper Headlines

    The Tuesday edition of Athens' dailies at a glance

    Brussels' insistence on written commitments from the Greek political leaders in order to disburse the sixth tranche of the EU-IMF bailout loan, the surtax on real estate and the revised list of 'heavy and hazardous' occupations, mostly dominated the headlines on Tuesday in Athens' newspapers.

    ADESMEFTOS TYPOS: "George Papandreou's (PASOK party president and former prime minister) hopeful successors start appearing".

    AVGHI: "The surtax is not coming to pass".

    AVRIANI: "Main opposition New Democracy (ND) leader Antonis Samaras' 'NO' to the troika loansharks' coercive ultimatum".

    ELEFTHEROS TYPOS: "Tax payers' bank deposits in the Tax Bureau's net".

    ESTIA: "The crime with the taxes".

    ETHNOS: "Arrangements for repayment of civil servants' loans".

    IMERISSIA: "Dangerous games - In search of a solution for the sixth tranche".

    KATHIMERINI: "Complication with the signatures and the sixth tranche of the bailout loan".

    NAFTEMPORIKI: "Seven-day ultimatum for the written commitments".

    RIZOSPASTIS: "Call for escalation of the battle against the new savage antipopular measures".

    TA NEA: "Brussels to Samaras: Change the letter to receive the sixth tranche".

    VRADYNI: "170,000 workers left out of the heavy and hazardous occupations".

    [03] Television head arrested for unpaid taxes

    AMNA-- The chairman of the private Athens-based Alter television channel, Kostas Yiannikos, was arrested by financial crime squad officers on Monday for back taxes and VAT remittances worth 1.2 million euro since the start of 2011.

    Yiannikos was arrested under provisions of a perpetrator committing a criminal offense and will be led before a public prosecutor to be charged on Tuesday, based on the evidence against him.amna

    If the charges brought against him are for a criminal offence, the case file will be assigned to an examining magistrate and Yiannikos will then have to appear before the magistrate.

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