WSU Team Gleason

WSU Team Gleason ()

  • This Thursday May 1st WSU Sports Management Presents "Team Gleason 'Sports Trivia and Silent Auction'"

  • We took 1st place! Our Senior Design Project took 1st place out of 15 different EECS teams in the poster contest last Thursday (April 24, 2014)!!!

  • We've gone SOCIAL! here are the links to our new line up of social media sites:

  • Prof. Bakken will be traveling to Tulane to be a judge in their biomedical engineering showcase on April 7, where 3 of the 7 teams are doing projects to help ALS. Coming with will be computer science major Forest Clay and computer enginering student Andrew Lytle. They both visited Tulane with Bakken last November and are both back at WSU next fall to take what they learn to next year's senior projects. Bakken and the students will also be helping start a Tulane Team Gleason club. Just like the WSU one, this will allow non-technical majors to also help people with ALS.

  • Article “Predictive software helps communication” in the Spring 2014 issue of Washington State magazine (the main alumni magazine).

  • Recent Microsoft ad on Super Bowl (and elsewhere) on Steve Gleason communicating with a tablet computer

  • For newspaper article and TV news video on WSU Team Gleason please see the link “In the News” on the left.


Former WSU football star and New Orleans Saints special teams cult hero Steve Gleason has ALS, a debilitating and cruel disease that strips its victims of the ability to control their muscles and kills them in 2-5 years. However, until the very end patients can control their eyes and eyelids. This is the primary way they communicate – by moving their eyes whereby a tablet computer tracks their eyes – after their voice goes.

The equipment for this is crude, e.g. it does not do much predictive typing like any smart phone does when it guesses the rest of your word. It is also very expensive, $4K to start with a barebones system and often way more (Steve’s system costs $20K). Even $4K is far beyond what Medicare will cover and what many victims of ALS can afford to pay themselves, so sadly they simply can’t communicate effectively once their voice is gone. Tragically, the patients’ minds are still perfectly good; they are basically trapped incommunicado.

WSU’s “World Class, Face to Face” students and faculty will develop inexpensive technology and release it under open source license with no royalties in order to disrupt this unacceptable status quo for ALS patients. This will start with a senior project during this school year but there are broader plans. Steve Gleason and his bravery, his mother Gail, and Team Gleason are well known to many WSU students so we anticipate no problem in getting broader involvement from students from many majors over the next year and beyond.

In the short term, donations are extremely helpful for a number of things described later in this document. These include computer hardware and accessories, trips to visit ALS technologists, pizza for recruiting meetings on campus, etc.