Head controlled mouse are the god send for people with upper limb disabilities. This was one of the quotes from the person who tried our head controlled mouse. We are living in a technology-driven world that is constantly evolving to become more inclusive. People across borders are now closer than ever, with the internet bridging all gaps in relationships, businesses, and other aspects of life.
I am sure you need no introduction to the significance of Smart Devices. Every household owns a smart device these days, thanks to affordable internet pricing. With Covid-19, people are now forced to work with Smart Devices to carry out their daily routine.
Now you might be thinking, "Smart Devices are so easy to use. It is like having the whole world at your fingertips". But here is the unfortunate news. That is not the case for all.
No, I am not referring to the non-tech-savvy. That is a discussion for another time. I am talking about the people who are well-aware and yet have a hard time operating such devices.
We are referring to Individuals with disabilities and medical conditions.
So often, we fail to realize how these smart devices are designed. With limited flexibility in operation, laptops, PCs, and mobile phones are not designed to keep the differently-abled people in mind. As a result, the members of the disabled community are unable to avail the wide range of benefits that these smart devices offer, irrespective of all the fantastic features that the device gets with each update.
To understand how big of a problem this is, we got in touch with Dr. Nonita Gangwani. She is a Ph.D. Graduate suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, both encountering their own set of challenges. Talking to them gave us a broad perspective on the obstacles in the life of both a student and a working professional.
Here's what we found.
Dr. Nonita used the tip of her nose to browse through her phone and text people.
It was heartbreaking to see a strongly determined individual face extreme challenges to perform the same tasks that we take for granted.
That is when I knew that I had to put my expertise in Electronics & Communication Engineering into practice. I wanted to develop an affordable solution that can assist and ease the process of using a smart device.
Hence, the beautifully designed MouseWare was born.
Let's see what we will cover in this article,
Powered by Assistive Technology, MouseWare is a hands-free computer mouse designed for the disabled. Since the computer mouse has a single function and can access the virtual keyboards already in place, this seemed like the apt component to be replaced with an alternate solution.
As mentioned earlier, I came up with this solution to help people with disabilities (PwD). The idea first sparked when one of my friends who met with an accident could not use smart devices till his recovery. He had time and energy in his hands and yet could not go about his daily routine.
"What if there was a solution that allowed people to work from home, even with an injured arm? And what if the solution was handy for people with disabilities as well?"
I soon began to do some research. I implemented everything that I've learned to build an efficient headband that the user can wear as an alternative to the computer mouse pointer
Unlike a wired mouse that needs to be plugged into the computer, MouseWare, as the name suggests, is wireless and a wearable headband. Let's discuss more in detail what makes MouseWare what it is.
The band is made up of soft elastic and sits comfortably on the head, irrespective of size. This adjustable band also mounts a sensor box that acts as the brain of MouseWare.
The sensor box is a small box-like structure as small as a matchbox, mounted on the side of the headband. This is where all the magic happens.
The sensor consists of a module that is capable of tracking head movements with precision and performs all the actions of a standard computer mouse when connected. Since the sensor sits firmly on the head, even the smallest of head movements is registered. This precision allows Mouseware to move the cursor with the natural movements of a user
For instance, if you want to move your cursor to the top-right corner of the computer screen, lift your head upwards and turn it right to reach the desired location. If you notice any physical difficulty in doing so, you can adjust the sensitivity level in the Mouseware Panel, a software that is provided with Mouseware to make your cursor respond to slight movements.
This is a simple USB drive that can be connected to your smart device through the device's USB port. This is the component that establishes the connection between the head-wearable computer mouse and your smart device with the help of the standard mouse drivers found in your smart device. The best part about this setup is that it requires no software installation. It is your typical plug-and-play device.
Once the cursor is at your desired location, there are a couple of ways to perform a mouse-click. This depends on which of the following accessories you choose to use.
This is a pedal-shaped button that is pressed by foot to make the corresponding click
This is a large button-shaped switch that can be strapped anywhere on your body or elsewhere for easy access
It is a small switch that can be worn on the finger, which on click can simulate an actual computer mouse action
We also recommend you check out the Adaptive switch collection from Enabling devices
This is a software-based method to perform mouse clicking. The user does not have to touch a switch physically. Instead, they can locate the point on the screen, and the rest is taken care of.
If you would like to learn more about the different types of Adaptive switches available in the market for people with Movement disabilities, we recommend your read our blog on Different Types of Adaptive switches and how they can help you?
So, you might be wondering, "How is this solution hands-free when all that you've talked about is the mouse?"
Well, my friend, this is where I tell you about one of the best features of MouseWare.
It can be extremely laborious and time-consuming to type each word character-wise. That is why we wanted to add this additional feature to help users write on their smart devices without the need for any external keyboard and without the use of their hands. All that they have to do is speak into the smart device and make necessary changes if any. This allows them to experience the hands-free setup overall.
Mouseware also supports voice typing in 5 regional languages including Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, and Gujarati.
Mouseware works across all smart devices including tablets, smartphones, laptops, desktops, and smart TVs.
It is also compatible with operating systems like android, IOS, Windows, Linux, Android TV, and Mac OS
It is truly inspiring to see that so many individuals break stereotypes and their own limiting beliefs to achieve their goals and dreams.
I do hope, from the bottom of my heart, that people with upper limb disabilities and individuals with other disorders can benefit from this solution.
It is not easy to sustain in a tech-obsessed world without being able to operate smart devices. Hence, I am sure that this small device will pave the way for a big change.
If you think that you or someone you know will greatly benefit from MouseWare, You can pre-order Mouseware from the Link below.
If you want to share your feedback, suggestions, and opinions with me, drop a comment below, and I would love to connect with you.