Jan 17, 2009

A DIY Eye Controlled Mouse

Two students from a technical high school in Argentina (ORT) developed a mouse that can be controlled by eye movements, which allows people with total paralysis to use the computer.

Named the "Eye Mouse" this idea is not really new but what makes this case so different is that it is a DIY mouse that almost anyone can build with cheap and easy-to-find components.

How it works? The software that they provide for free, divides the monitor surface in squares and asks the user what he wants to do -focus on an area, right click, left click, etc-, with yes and no answers. If the eye looks at the camera, that is translated as a "yes".

Their work received the first prize at the "Technological Innovation of 2008" contest, organized by the Chamber of Commerce German-Argentinian. Here are the step-by-step instructions to build your own 'Eye Mouse'...

1. Download the free software and run the installation process but DO NOT execute the program until the web cam is installed in the machine.

2. Get a web cam, if possible small and light and without infrared filter (if it has one, it can normally be removed by unscrewing the frontal panel of the web cam lens).

3. Build something that will allow the webcam to be attached to the head and facing the eyes (see image at the top). In their case, they used:

a. The headband of a welding helmet (removing the mask).
b. A small, flexible metal tube that was screw to the helmet and that holds the web cam in way that can be adjusted to the height needed, so the web cam can point to the person's eye.

4. With infrared LEDs build something similar to a lantern, to be held with the web cam but lightening he eye. The infrared light is not visible for the human eye, but it is visible for the web cam).

5. Install the web cam, if required run the driver provided by the web cam's manufacturer. Finally, execute the Eye Mouse software.

The names behind this geat device are Nicolás Amaro and Nicolás Ponieman (students). Tutors for the project were professors Juan Ignacio D’Amore and Martha Semken. If you understand Spanish, here is a short video with the students and the mouse in action:

You can find more information -in Spanish too- here or download the free software HERE (click on the download icon) where you can also leave them your comments.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It took me a long time to search on the web, only your site explain the fully details, bookmarked and thanks again.

- Kris