ORT students develop Eye Mouse


09 September 2009 ORT students develop Eye Mouse Two ORT Argentina students have developed software and a webcam system that enables severely disabled people to use their computers in the wink of an eye. Nicolas Amaro and Nicolas Ponieman, who have just graduated from the ORT Belgrano Technical School, put the skills they had learned as ICT majors at the service of their friend, Nicolas Rossi, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I used to be able to use a conventional mouse but there came a moment when I could no longer use it, Rossi told the Chinese NTD television network. Then my friends told me about the system they developed at ORT. The low cost mouse developed by Amaro and Ponieman won them first prize in the annual Technological Innovation competition sponsored by the Argentina-Germany Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Nicolas Amaro demonstrates the Eye Mouse he developed with fellow ORT Argentina student Nicolas Ponieman. Their software sweeps the computer screen and divides it into nine sectors that change colour and repeatedly ask the user if an action is to follow. To do an action, the user looks straight into the camera and the chosen sector subdivides into nine fields. The process repeats under the user focuses on the precise desired screen location. Nicolas Amaro told NTD: The Eye Mouse is a system that allows people who suffer from any disability that does not allow them to use their hands or to communicate in any other way but by moving their eyes to send emails, write documents and control the computer like they are clicking and moving the mouse. The Eye Mouse comes one year after ORT Argentinas ICT students developed a system by which disabled peoples head movements were transformed into a click, double click or movement of the mouse. Again using readily available and cheap components, the systems details were posted on the Internet so giving free access to disadvantaged members of society. At the time, Dario Mischener, the Director of the ORT Technical Schools ICT track, said: 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. 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 face by one sector of the population. The same principle is being applied now to the Eye Mouse. You can download the software for the Eye Mouse for free from the schools website, said Nicolas Ponieman, who won a bronze medal at the Asia Pacific Mathematics Olympiad over the summer. The only cost that you would have is to create the helmet, which includes an ordinary webcam. After that you only need everyday components that are available from any hardware store. We estimate the total cost to be about $30. Instructions (in Spanish) and explanatory photographs can be downloaded from ORT Argentinas Virtual Campus at http://campus.belgrano.ort.edu.ar/tic .