Camera Mouse Review
- Name of the technology: Camera Mouse
- Link: http://www.cameramouse.org/
- Price: Free
- Popularity: One download per minute. There have been over 1,500,000 downloads of Camera Mouse from this site since the program was made available in June 2007.
- Minimal physical requirements: The patient has to be able to move his head freely.
Camera Mouse is a free program that allows you to control the mouse pointer on a Windows computer just by moving your head. Clicking can be done by making the mouse pointer dwell over a spot on the screen.
The program was developed at Boston College to help people with disabilities use the computer. The main audience for this program is people who do not have reliable control of a hand but who can move their head. People with Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis, Traumatic Brain Injury, various neurological disorders use this program and its predecessors to run all types of computer software.
Camera Mouse works as a mouse replacement system for Windows computers so it should work with just about any application program. For example people use Camera Mouse with entertainment programs, education programs, communication programs, web browsers, and so on. (See the Downloads page for some of the programs and websites that we have used with Camera Mouse.) Camera Mouse works best with application programs that require only a mouse and a left click and that do not have tiny targets. It's easier to use Camera Mouse with application programs that do not require extreme accuracy.
What equipment is required?
A Windows 8, 7, Vista, or up to date XP computer or tablet and a standard USB webcam (or a video camera built into a notebook computer or tablet). We do our development work with a Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 or a Microsoft LifeCam Studio HD. Camera Mouse works with other commercial USB webcams as well.
This program is available for free download. Support for our work has come from the Philanthropy Committee of Mitsubishi Electronic Research Labs (MERL) and the Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation. Major continuing support for Camera Mouse comes from Boston College. Camera Mouse is part of our mission of education, research, and service.
The original idea for Camera Mouse was developed by Prof. James Gips (Boston College) and Prof. MargritBetke (then at Boston College, now at Boston University). Here are copies of papers on the original Camera Mouse from the 2000 RESNA Conference [pdf] and from IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering in 2002 [pdf]. Many students have contributed to the development of Camera Mouse.
For several years the Camera Mouse technology was licensed by Boston College to a start-up company called Camera Mouse, Inc., with headquarters in Texas. They developed a commercial version of the program that they sold for $395. The company could not sell enough copies to be profitable.
With the demise of the company and the revocation of the license by Boston College, we decided to develop a new version of the program and make it available for free. Under contract from Boston College, Donald Green, principal at Mekinesis, developed and implemented Camera Mouse 2007. Don expanded Camera Mouse 2008 to work with a much wider variety of commercial webcams. Camera Mouse 2009, 2010, and 2011 are much smaller downloads and work on computers with multiple video sources. Under contract from Boston College, Don Green and Christine Hsu Nason of OpCode Consulting and Matt McGowan did a complete rewrite for Camera Mouse 2012. Camera Mouse 2013 follows closely to Camera Mouse 2012.
The latest version is Camera Mouse 2013 version 2.1 released March 24, 2013. Manual dated March 16, 2013. This version should track better and work across multiple monitors.