ORT Argentina designs computer mouse for disabled people


11 September 2008 ORT Argentina designs computer mouse for disabled people The Argentinean media have been abuzz with news of a cheap and simple mouse, designed by students and teachers at ORT Argentina, which allows disabled people to use their computer easily and comfortably. The development team at the ORT Technical School (Belgrano campus) in Buenos Aires has applied for a patent but plans to make the technology freely available in order to help disadvantaged members of society. The help future users, students plan to create a technical help desk accessibly via Internet. The idea is to give away free software and the connection plans of the infrared transmitter and the webcam so that anyone with any hand disability can use it, Dario Mischener, the Director of the schools Information and Communication Technology track, told La Nacion newspaper. We dont want anybody to depend on a commercial supplier. For us, we want to help by transferring knowledge; in this case by providing a solution to a challenge faced by one sector of the population. The mouse uses easily available components, such as a webcam, light bulb and cellophane for its system, which is undergoing final testing before being made publicly available. The webcam is fastened to a headband, cap or helmet worn by the user. This webcam interacts with an infrared transmitter placed on the computer screen and, thanks to the use of simple software, transforms the users head movements into a click, double click or movement of the mouse. So that the webcam and the infrared transmitter can communicate, the young innovators simply stuck two pieces of blue and red cellophane together and placed them over the webcams lens. A simple light bulb with the same cellophane combination can be used as the transmitter. Development of the mouse has won the support of the Technology Centre for Disability of the National Institute of Industrial Technology, which sponsored the ORT team at the Science and Technology Secretariat. There, a technical evaluation commission of the National Office of Programmes and Special Projects rated the new system as an emblematic, significant future project and offered a grant to finance the final phase of tests. This is an innovative project, said Luis Perez, Studies Director at the ORT Almagro campus in Buenos Aires. Its the first time that such a project has been produced at high school level. We feel very proud of our students and their entrepreneurial spirit. Guillermo Lutzky, Director of the ORT Argentinas Virtual Campus, said: Everybody can have access to this project as its available on our website at http://campus.belgrano.ort.edu.ar/tic. This is a solidarity project which contributes to social integration the idea is that technology reaches everybody. And there seems to be little danger of disabled people in Argentina not knowing about ORT Argentinas innovation. This project has had a great impact on the media, said ORT Argentina Executive Director Adrian Moscovich. Many local newspapers, radio stations and television channels have visited the school, interviewed the students and teachers involved, and published the news. The development of the mouse was an example of the excellence of ORT Argentinas schools and their embodiment of ORTs values, said World ORT Director General Robert Singer. ORT Argentinas schools have long since established themselves as centres of excellence, Mr Singer said. This latest project reminds us why these schools are the first choice for so many Jewish families in Buenos Aires: superb academic standards and a characteristically Jewish approach to social commitment.