Man invents nose-steered mouse
From correspondents in Paris
September 16, 2004
A CANADIAN inventor has devised the world's first computer to be controlled by the nose and eyelids, New Scientist reports.
The gadget could be a boon for people with disabilities who cannot use the conventional mouse, it says.
The nose-steered mouse, called a "nouse", works by using tracking software linked to a webcam that identifies a group of 25 pixels which are the tip of the nose.
Motion detection software is used to spot the blink of the user's eye. Blinking the left or right eye twice takes the place of left or right mouse clicks.
The inventor, Dmitry Gorodnichy of the Institute of Information Technology in Ottawa, chose the nose because it is possible to see a characteristic pixel pattern at the nasal tip from anywhere within a broad camera angle.
Previous attempts to link cursors with the user's face have used the eyebrows or mouth as tracking points.
The problem, though, is that these facial features look entirely different when tilted only slightly to one side, which confuses the tracking software.
The report is carried in next Saturday's issue of the British scientific weekly.