Computers are becoming an integral part of the workplace and home environments. Without use of the angers and hands, however, the standard computer workstation is impossible to use, and people with such disabilities are isolated from career, educational, and social opportunities. For such individuals, several devices are available to replace the keyboard and mouse. However, nearly all devices require equipment or markers to be placed on the head. For many disabled people, the computer can therefore not be used without assistance. Additionally, when the disabled person wishes to leave the computer, he or she is left wearing conspicuous objects until assistance can again be obtained. This project will develop an attachment-free point and click (PAC) device for the disabled. The device will be capable of tracking the head motion of the computer user and extracting pointing information. In addition to providing an important unaddressed function, the proposed device, using only low-cost components, promises to be available at a very low cost. In the Phase I project, Vortant Technologies will team with Easter Seals Arizona, which will provide input on requirements and function, as well as lead the test and evaluation activities.
Many disabled individuals use or wish to use computing technology. With current input devices, this is often difficult for those without effective use of the fingers or hands. The proposed R & D will result in a product of direct benefit to these individuals, who number more than 1 million individuals. The Point and Click device can be constructed of low-cost components, and can be built efficiently in low or high volumes. Thus, the chances for commercial release of a product are quite high.