Using a computer mouse can be difficult for people with the many diseases or injuries that affect muscular control, including those with multiple sclerosis (MS). So a company called Perceptive Devices has designed a way around that problem, and recently released a new version of its Smyle Mouse, a device that tracks facial gestures and translates them to a computer’s “mouse” commands.
Smyle Mouse, a hands-free, touch-free, and voice-free computer control device, is designed to help MS patients and others be more independent users of personal computers or tablets. The device tracks users’ facial gestures via a computer’s built-in webcam, and translates the gestures into mouse commands, for accurate and responsive control. Users can initiate clicks, scroll up and down, or drag by combining smiles with simple head movements.
Several improvements were made to the latest version (1.2), the company said in a press release, allowing for increased user productivity and greater customization. The software behind the device was designed to be compatible with Microsoft’s Windows operating system (OS), versions 7 and above. Perceptive Devices is also offering a free, 14-day trial period for potential users on its website.
Others who could likely benefit from a hands-free mouse include people with spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or those who have had a stroke.
Smyle Mouse can also be used for hands-free control of augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality devices and applications.
“I lost the use of my arms about two years ago so whenever I used the computer I needed assistance. Obviously, my productivity decreased dramatically, impacting not only my career but my family life as well. Before Smyle Mouse, I only spent about 30 minutes a day on my laptop, but now, I can use my laptop over nine hours a day without assistance,” Jeff Nicklas, a U.S. user, said in a press release.
Perceptive Devices is exploring the device’s potential in a series of applications, from medical or surgical ones, to those in industrial maintenance, manufacturing, logistics, transportation, security, and defense.