Professor Margrit Betke and Professor James Gips from Boston College got the idea in 2000 and it was called EagleEyes. It was actually licensed by Boston College and was distributed commercially for an unknown cost.
Recently with the help of a Computer Science graduate student, Wajeeha Akram, Professors Betke and Gips developed a free version.
Thanks to them, the Camera Mouse 2009 is completely free, a much smaller download, and works with many different types of computers.
Anyone who has voluntary control of their head movement can use this device:
Traumatic Brain Injury
Cerebral Vascular Accident (stroke)
Degenerative Diseases (Alzheimers, etc)
*basically anyone who has trouble with fine motor movement can benefit from the Camera Mouse
How does the Camera Mouse Work?
With the help of the webcam, the user’s movements are tracked and translated into mouse movements on the computer screen.
When the user moves their head to the corresponding spot on the computer screen, they “linger” on the item for a half of a second to choose it.
The Camera Mouse works best with programs that have large icons to click and do not require exceptional accuracy.
What are some of the features of Camera Mouse?
The Camera Mouse 2009 does not allow the user to right click or drag items. However it does:
works well with onscreen keyboards, which allows the user to write in a word document.
Has an extensive 14 page manual, as well as a phone number to call for training.
Has options for where on the body to track (thumb, tip or bridge of nose, eye, lip,etc)
Allows the user to launch the program at start up
X and Y axis speeds (how fast the mouse moves) can be tweaked to fit the needs of the client
How much does the Camera Mouse cost and where can I get it?
The “Camera Mouse 2009” software is completely free and available for download at cameramouse.org
A USB webcam is also required and can be bought at any electronic store starting at around $50.
The Camera Mouse also requires up to date Windows XP or Vista
Example of Camera Mouse Work
What user’s have to say about the Camera Mouse
“ We are a family of four. What makes us different is that we have a daughter who is three and has cerebral palsy … The best thing that the Camera Mouse System has given us, is watching both of our daughters sharing and playing at something that brings them so much joy and giggles. That is an experience that should not be missed by other families.” -user ’s mother
“ The system is so important in Amanda’s life. It gives her independent access to the computer, which opens so many doors for her… It allows her to participate with her own words and initiate. It allows her to share what she knows… It is a joy to see her use the computer by herself… Computers are the future and for a child with so little independence this gives her so many opportunities. She is thrilled with it as are we.” -user’s mother
Where can I learn more about the Camera Mouse?
For frequently asked questions and more general information about the Camera Mouse go to cameramouse.org
For a video demonstration of using an on screen keyboard with the Camera Mouse go to. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8yZq7qnpfY
Betke, M., Gips, J., & Fleming, P. (2000). The camera mouse: Preliminary investigation of automated visual tracking for computer access. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from Boston College, Computer Science Department. cameramouse.org/CMRESNA.pdf.
Betke, M., Gips, J., & Fleming, P. (2002). The Camera Mouse: visual tracking of body features to provide computer access for people with severe disabilities. Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering , 10 (1), 1-10.
Betke, M., Magee,J., Scott, M., & Waber, B. (2004, June). EyeKeys: A Real time vision interface based on gaze detection from a low- grade video camera. Paper presented at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshop.
Gips, J. (n.d.). About, Frequently asked questions . Retrieved October 16, 2008, from cameramouse.org
Pictures used with permission from Professor James Gips, Boston College.