CAMERA MOUSE: Innovative technology for people with disabilites

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Camera Mouse is a program that allows you to control the mouse pointer on a Windows computer just by moving your head.VThe program was developed to help people with disabilities use the computer. The main audience for this program is people who do not have reliable control of a hand but who can move their head. People with Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, various neurological disorders use this program and its predecessors to run all types of computer software.Camera Mouse works best with application programs that require only a mouse and a left click and that do not have tiny targets.

It’s easier to use Camera Mouse with application programs that do not require extreme accuracy.A Windows 7, Vista, or XP computer system and a standard USB webcam (or a webcam built into the computer or monitor). We do our development work with a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 or a Microsoft LifeCam Cinema. Camera Mouse works with other commercial USB webcams as well. This program is available for free download. Partial support for our work came from the National Science Foundation* and now from generous gifts from the Philanthropy Committee of Mitsubishi Electronic Research Labs (MERL), from the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, and from the Accenture Fund at Boston College.


Place a standard USB webcam on or near the monitor so it is pointing at you as if for video conferencing (or use a built-in webcam). Start up Camera Mouse. Your moving image will appear in the Camera Mouse window. Use the mouse to click on a feature on your face to track. Some unique area of the face. We usually use the inside edge of an eyebrow or eye or the area between the nose and the mouth. A small green square appears at the feature being tracked. As you move your head the square moves with it in the image.



Now press the Scroll Lock key or the Ctrl key or just wait for 4 seconds (“Auto Start”). The Camera Mouse program takes over control of the mouse pointer on the screen. As you move your head the mouse pointer moves accordingly. If you move the mouse itself (or press the Scroll Lock key or Ctrl key) the control returns to the mouse.

You can adjust the settings by clicking on the Camera Mouse Settings button at the bottom of the window. Here you can change the gains and turn on clicking. Clicking is done using “dwell time,” by holding the mouse pointer within a small area of the screen for a second or two. Or you can click in the regular way using the mouse button or a switch.


A computer with Windows 7, Vista, or an up-to-date XP. For older versions of Windows you should download Camera Mouse 2008.Also a standard webcam, either one built into the monitor or a standard USB webcam. We use and recommend the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 and the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema. We’ve tried Camera Mouse with various webcams from Logitech, Creative Labs, and Microsoft with success. If the webcam is very low quality, the video image may be noisy and Camera Mouse might have a problem with tracking.

One thought on “CAMERA MOUSE: Innovative technology for people with disabilites”

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