Twitch streamer ‘YvMHawking’ has ALS and cannot use his arms or legs — but he doesn’t let that stop him from creating content, editing videos, and even developing video games by using only his eyes.
32-year-old Ben Gürkan is a Turkish Twitch streamer with over 10,000 followers. He’s also a postgraduate biology student from AIBU who develops games in his spare time.
Gürkan has ALS — a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing loss of muscle control throughout the body.
As a result, he cannot use any of his limbs. How, then, does he stream on Twitch? How does he study?
Twitch streamer with ALS uses eye-tracker to play games
Gürkan says that he’s able to control his computer by using an eye tracker — and he’s found significant success on Twitch as a result of his efforts.
The eye tracker that Gürkan uses is attached to the bottom of his computer monitor. Using infrared rays, the tracker can follow where the streamer looks, allowing him to play video games and interact with viewers using specific eye motions.
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Gürkan first began experiencing symptoms of ALS when he was 25 years old. Due to the effects of his condition, he found himself spending his days in front of his computer, which prompted him to start streaming.
“As you know, my whole day is spent in front of the computer,” he says in the ‘about’ section on his Twitch channel. “I wanted to open a publication while I was dealing with something.”
Now, viewers can tune into Gürkan’s streams to see him controlling animated characters in-game using just his eyes while he lays back in bed. He also speaks with fans using a text to speech program, cultivating an active community of supportive fans.
Gürkan has managed to overcome the odds and isn’t letting ALS slow him down one bit, making him an inspiring figure for gamers and streamers the world over.