- Title: ARGENTINA: "Eye mouse" opens internet to the severely disabled
- Date: 5th September 2009
- Summary: CLOSE UP OF COMPUTER SCREEN
- Embargoed: 20th September 2009 02:01
- Location: Argentina
- Country: Argentina
- Topics: Science / Technology
- Reuters ID: LVA5297BNDIBCH6PSUXIZT3FLDBR
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: A new technology has been presented by high school students of the ORT technical school in Argentina that could help severally disabled people get online at a very low cost.
Two 18-year-old students developed a software and webcam system so that one of their friend's who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) could use the computer.
The Eye Mouse system tracks the user's eye with a standard webcam and translates their eye movements into on-screen actions.
That means that people like Nicolas Matias Rossi who is an SMA sufferer can control the computer with their eyes.
"I used to be able to use the mouse, a conventional mouse, but there came a moment when I could no longer use it. And well, they told me about this system. My friend developed it for me with the ORT [Technical School] and well, here we are".
Other conventional mouse substitutes have been developed that track head movements and the technology for the Eye Mouse is not completely new.
But 18-year-old Nicolas Amaro, one of the developers of the Eye Mouse says their system is accessible to all and is relatively cheap.
"The interesting thing about the Eye Mouse is you can download the software for free from the school's website and the only cost that you would have is to create the helmet which includes a webcam, not a special webcam, any typical webcam that would cost around 100 pesos. After that you only need everyday elements you can buy in any hardware store. We estimate that the cost would be 120 or 110 pesos (US$30)".
The computer system selects and deselects sections of the computer screen depending on the user's eye movement.
The user simply keeps their eye still until the computer reaches the section they want selected. At that point they look at the webcam.
This process is then repeated until the user focuses on the exact screen location they want. If they wish to compose email or a message they follow the same process via a selection of onscreen letters designed for that purpose.
It is a technology that allows those who have limited hand and head motion to connect to the virtual world.
"The Eye Mouse is a system that allows disabled people that suffer from SMA [Spinal Muscular Atrophy] -- or any other disability that does not allow them to use their hands or to communicate in any other way but by moving their eyes -- to use the computer, send emails, write whatever document, and also control the computer like they are clicking and moving the mouse."
Rossi, for one, is now reconnected and using the computer again, thanks to the Eye Mouse and his friends who developed it.
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