Adaptive technology covers devices that help people compensate for physical and other challenges. Some help people with low vision or blindness, while others may assist people with limited muscle control or missing limbs. One feature that most of these devices share in common, however, is a relatively high cost. Often, these devices are created to serve a relatively small market, so the developmental costs must be recovered from a limited number of sales.
It’s a refreshing change, however, to learn about Animouse. This is a program that lets Windows users control the mouse pointer on their computer screens without the use of a mouse or a touchpad. The system uses face tracking to let the user control the pointer and mouse clicks simply with head movements. One of the particularly interesting features is the fact that you don’t need any expensive equipment to make it work. It only requires a user-facing camera; if your computer doesn’t have one, an inexpensive standard webcam will do. But perhaps the most interesting feature is that the software is free. It is an open source project that is distributed for free. The program’s creator also wants to invite others to contribute to the further development of the program, such as making it available for Linux and Mac platforms.
Animouse grew out of the graduate research project in Computer Engineering by Aniket Eknath Kudale in India. This is an excellent example of how people around the world are willing to contribute their time and talent to help solve problems for others.