It’s the same routine – type a little on the keyboard, move the dominant hand, maneuver through the screen with the mouse, and pick the hand back up, replace it on the keyboard and continue typing. Whether it’s a trackball, a touchpad, or a plain old mouse, it doesn’t matter: whatever format it comes in, any mousing device that requires the user to take his or her hands off the keyboard just to move the cursor isn’t necessarily the pinnacle of efficiency.
Maybe, then, the “Nouse” will be.
The Nouse is a nose-operated mouse, one that relies on slight twitches of the nose and blinks of the eyes for on-screen navigation. Users can right click by blinking their right eye, and left click with the left eye, or move up and down and back and forth by merely moving their own nose.
Invented by Dmitry Gorodnichy from the Institute of Information Technology in Ottawa, Canada, the Nouse seemingly has diverse potential. For Gorodnichy, creating the Nouse was a means of allowing computer users with disabilities to operate a computer more easily. Additionally, though, the device could create a more “intuitive,” natural or efficient means of working with computers, computer-generated environments or even video games. And lastly, it could also provide some relief for workers at risk of developing or aggravating upper extremity disorders from using their mouse, or at least offer them another mousing option.
The Nouse operates via webcam technology, relying on tracking software to monitor the user’s image to determine facial movements intended to move the cursor. Double blinking turns on the Nouse and connecting to the computer happens through a USB port, although some programs, particularly those involving a virtual environment, may require two webcams.
Other gesture-based mice also exist, although most rely on eyebrow or mouth movements rather than tracking the motions of the nose. But inventor Gorodnichy sees the nose as a much more reliable focus point.
Studies, including two involving Danish workers published in 2003, have linked extensive mousing to an increased risk of developing upper extremity musculoskeletal disorders. All gesture-based mice have the potential to reduce the risk of such injuries for computer users.
Source: New Scientist