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Cursor control at the blink of the eye

posted 17 Feb 2011, 06:50 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 17 Feb 2011, 06:52 ]

Engineers in the West Bank have developed a low-cost computer mouse controlled by movements of the eye. The device is designed to help people with impaired mobility to use a computer.

Palestinian students are developing a computer mouse that can be controlled by eye movements.

The researchers, at the Polytechnic University in West Bank city of Hebron, say the device, know as the Eye Mouse, will give people with impaired movement the ability to control a computer mouse and their PC.

"We are targeting the handicapped or people who cannot move their hands or suffer from paralysis. This project will let them control the mouse and computer and it will be easy for them to use the computer and internet," said Rafat Jubeh, a student of applied electronics.

The system uses sensors placed around the user's eye which detect any movement in the muscles controlling the eye and translate that into instructions to the cursor.

If the eye looks left, the cursor moves to left and if the eye looks up the cursor moves up.

"We checked the order that goes out from the mouse towards the computer, and we found that the signs that go to the computer are similar to the signs of the eye. So from this we chose the sign of the eye using a device, a micro-controller which we programmed in order for this (eye) sign goes to the mouse and then to the computer and move the index," said teacher and head of Engineering Department at Polytechnic University, Ramzi Qawasmi.

The students maintain the device is simple to build and will not be expensive.

"The original device cost at least 1500 US dollars. Our device will cost 120 US dollars. Now, it is still being tested but when a company starts to produce it, the cost will decrease," student Mahmoud Rajabi, explained.

The students want to make the Eye Mouse available to everyone at an affordable price but they are still trying to develop a method of left or right clicking the mouse to further increase its functionality for the user.