Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Coming Soon Free CameraMouse!

Today I went to a great workshop presented by Maureen Gates from Boston College. She showed us a fantastic piece of software, actually many pieces of software, CameraMouse and games for CameraMouse. CameraMouse is software that interprets any movement in front of an off the shelf webcam to mouse movements. Although it is generally used as a head mouse, it can be used with any body part that can move in four directions (up, down, left, right).

CameraMouse was developed as a spin off of Eagle Eyes, which allows uses to move a mouse by amplifying the muscle movements of the eyes. (Eagle Eyes is available for free (provided evidence that a student can benefit) from the Opportunity Foundation.)

CameraMouse can be used with even the slightest movement, so slight that when set to the "extreme" level just looking where you want to mouse to go moves your head enough to move the mouse. For users with extraneous movements it can be set to allow more freedom. CameraMouse has a built in auto-click/dwell feature that eliminates the need for a switch or other method of clicking. You can also limit the window that CameraMouse moves around in so that the user doesn't accidentally close programs. All of these features are fully programmable.

When working with CameraMouse you are given plenty of games to teach everything from cause and effect to grade level academics. There are even special internet browsers and an online gaming program that allows users to compete in various CameraMouse and/or Eagle Eyes games.

CameraMouse is NOT available right this minute but BC will offer it free of charge (not just free for 30 days, free period) for download in about a month - keep checking here or there site for more info.

So if you are about to spend anywhere from $180 for a TrackIR to $400 for QualiEYE (practically the same as CameraMouse - I tried both) to $8,000 for an ERICA or TOBII you might want to wait a month!

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