Start-up Perceptive Devices, LLC is putting a positive spin on the everyday task of manipulating computers and mobile devices. During CE Week, the company revealed a hands-free mouse that can be controlled by smiling and making slight head movements.
The still-unnamed device is basically a proximity sensor that can be mounted on a normal pair of glasses. It can be used with desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and Smart TVs. Basically, it works with anything that can connect to a Bluetooth mouse. The sensor detects the motion and position of cheek muscles, which it then translates into commands for clicking and moving the cursor. According to Perceptive Devices CEO Uday Parshionikar, requiring people to smile while navigating through apps and programs is meant to give users a “positive experience.”
“We, as human beings, it’s a great thing for us to smile. When we smile, our heart rate slows down our blood pressure goes down, our stress levels go down. It has been proven scientifically. We feel good when we smile,” he said.
Parshionikar developed the idea while helping his son with his eight grade science fair entry. “He said, ‘Hey, Dad! What if we can control the computer using our head?’ That time, Nintendo Wii was very popular and he really liked that idea but he wanted to put it on his head and control the computer with that. And I thought that was really neat, so I decided to take that idea further.”
To execute common mouse commands, users only have to vary the length of their smiles. “Smile quick to click” are Parshionikar’s magic words for using the hands-free mouse. To scroll, commit to a long smile. To drag and drop, smile and hold.
The hands-free mouse can also handle more intuitive commands. Nodding down amounts to pressing the page down key. Nodding up is equivalent to page up. Turning your head left would take you to the previous page. Turning your head right would lead to the next page.
That may sound like the prescription for a face cramp (or some neck pain), however, the device is easier to use than it sounds, even though it would probably require some practice. In a demonstration, Parshionikar showed off the device to Digital Trends by playing a round of Angry Birds.
Aside from indoctrinating able-bodied users to smile, the device is also meant to help people with disabilities. Parshionikar declined to give a solid timeline for the product’s release, but he said that he is targeting a launch within the year. When it does come out in the market, the price may be over a thousand dollars (similar to other devices for handicapped people), but Parshionikar said that the price may be lower to attract regular consumers.