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Computer mouse activated by head movement

The device is a headset and connects to a computer using a USB port. It was manufactured for people with disabilities, mainly in the upper extremities.

Bogotá D. C., 20 de mayo de 2016Agencia de Noticias UN-

The device works without complex algorithms or software programs. Photos: Andrés Almeida (Unimedios)

The device does not need technical expertise or setup and the cost does not exceed COP $60.000 (USD $19.9).

According to World Health Organization data, in many low income countries such as Colombia, only between 5% and 15% of people have access to devices and support technologies.

Estimates say that there are 2.9 million people in Colombia with some type of disability of which 7,906 live in Manizales.

Technological support has enabled Physicist Stephen Hawking, who has a degenerative disease (lateral amyotrophic sclerosis) to develop research which has impacted humanity.

The prototype was designed by the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNal) in Manizales Adaptive Intelligent Environments Research Group (GAIA, for its Spanish acronym) for the purpose of helping people with hindering physical issues to access new technologies. 

“The device does not need technical expertise or setup and the cost does not exceed COP $60.000 (USD $19.9),” said one of the creators UNal-Medellín Engineering and IT doctoral candidate Camilo Alejandro Castillo Benavides. 

The headset mouse was programmed to reproduce the movement of a cursor by means of horizontal and vertical movements of the head. 

The device was manufactured using an accelerometer and a gyroscope contained in an Inertial Measuring Unit which measures speed and direction and which many smartphones often have. 

“The degree of complexity of the device consisted on linking the head movements with the cursor using sensors,” said Castillo. 

Furthermore the device was programmed to make a click when it detected a considerable speed change, as moving the head forward (as when people sneeze.) 

Additionally the mouse involved using an Arduino Micro Board (an open code microcontroller with easy to use software and hardware.) 

There are several different versions of computer mice currently in the market, which are activated by mouth blowing and mouth movements; there are also other interfacing systems which perform basic cursor actions based on recognizing imagery and others which use diverse approaches to detect and follow the movement of the retina. 

However one of the benefits of the device developed at UNal is that it does not require complex algorithms or software programs. 

According to Electronics Engineering student Luis Felipe García Arias the device may also be used in environments where a conventional mouse is not appropriate; for instance in a lab where that hands of the user are occupied handling dangerous materials or people in other industries which use their hands in other activities. 

Despite the mouse allows for an effective interaction with the computer, the creators are trying to improve the device adding other features such as a sustained click or secondary click enabling the mouse to be more complete and even more practical. 

Inclusion tool 

According to Teleton Physiatrist Medical Coordinator in Manizales Natalia Valencia Gutiérrez, these types of developments could have a positive impact not only for people with disabilities but also for the country. Estimates say that there are 2.9 million people in Colombia with some type of disability of which 7,906 live in Manizales. 

Implementing technological tools expedites accessibility to the benefits and opportunities provided by ICTs (information and communications technologies). Technological support has enabled Physicist Stephen Hawking, who has a degenerative disease (lateral amyotrophic sclerosis) to develop research which has impacted humanity. 

Versalles Clinic Physiotherapist Verónica Ocampo Builes says the benefit of the mouse is that it is not only a low cost tool but that it also allows social inclusion and equal opportunities for all to interact with technology. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) data, in many low income countries such as Colombia, only between 5% and 15% of people have access to devices and support technologies. Therefore in opinion of the experts, the prototype offers disabled people a form to improve their interaction with technological devices in a process of social building directed towards inclusion. 

Read the article in its entirety in Spanish at UN Periódico

(Por: Fin/JDMP/MLA/DMH/APBL
)
N.° 747

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