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Review of Hands Free Mouse 250

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the look-ma-no-hands dept.
SLDave wrote in to plug his review of NaturalPoint's hands free mouse that covered by Slashdot some time ago. It seems to work as advertised, using a camera to track your head and replace your mouse, but with a lot of caveats. Definitely worth a look for us truly lazy folks.
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Review of Hands Free Mouse

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:35PM (#3409706)
    At long last, hands free web surfing. Just think of what you can do now that your not stuck with one hand on the mouse.

    On second thought, better not to think about that.

  • Once properly modified, the TrackIR can be one cool toy but it probably will not be put out for mainstream use or adopted by any OEM's because overally, it will take longer to do things with the TrackIR then it will with a simple mouse.

    overally -- what the heck is that? Is that like coveralls or overalls for OEMs?

  • Hindu Plot (Score:3, Funny)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:36PM (#3409720) Homepage Journal
    Tell me this thing is not made in India and part of a plot to take over the world.

    .
  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:37PM (#3409727)


    This being Slashdot, I'm wondering whether the subject means "Review of a hands-free mouse" or "Review of Hand's free mouse".

  • by MikeOttawa (551441) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:38PM (#3409740)
    Wouldn't it make more sense to track your eye movements, if I could *look* at the link on a page (lets say hold it in focus for one second) and follow the link life would be great. There is some technolgy that allows tracking of eye movement - I've seen it used to research how the human brain "reads" a page of text (by scanning all over it quickly).
  • The ergonomic trackIR(TM) provides precise cursor control through simple head movement...

    This in combination with gestures can lead to severe neck and shoulder problems ;)
  • blind mice (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rot26 (240034) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:38PM (#3409744) Homepage Journal
    Without the ability to click handsfree, this thing is utterly worthless.

    • Not necessarily. If the person has a disability, ie bad fine motor skill as a result of a stroke, then it would make for a decent device. For the clicks, a large - family feud style - button could be made. It sounds weird, but similar things are being used for occupational therapy technology.
    • They should put in a simple switch interface, then you could use a foot switch or whatever. This would be great for the physically handicapped, who are otherwise getting constantly reamed (or being 'harvested' for their Medicaid funding or whatever) for back-dated overpriced technology based on Apple II Plus - era hardware. Not to forget hands-free full-throttle porn surfing of course!
      • Aha! Just as Outlook finally vindicated all the lusers who believed the "Good Times" hoax, this will vindicate all the newbies who thought their mouse was a foot pedal!

        Chris Mattern
    • Think about it this way. The Unix folks decided that three mouse buttons would be the most funcitonal way to use a computer. Microsoft came along and reduced the number to two. Apple, then, decided that it could get along with one. (Okay, so it didn't happen exactly that way, but you get the idea.)

      It's only a matter of time until we can get along without clicking, or moving the mouse at all!

      Wait a minute, that's the keyboard.
    • Without the ability to click handsfree, this thing is utterly worthless.
      The article said that you can use key combinations to do it. At last - a use for the unused "windows" keys on the other keyboard (or "print screen" and "scroll lock" on this old one).
    • It clicks just fine, though apparently the review does NOT make this clear.

      Dan of Dansdata.com did a review [dansdata.com] of this product quite some time ago, and HIS review kicks ass Thank You So Very Much, and mentions exactly how Dwell clicking works.

      Dwell clicking is only available on the deluxe model of the TrackIR system, this guy got the cheap ass model. Next time the reviewer should do some more RESEARCH before asking for a product to review.

      ....

      Ignoring that though, I have this strange desire to wire a few of these buggers up together and get a full 3d wireless head tracking system, only problem so far is figuring out tilt, but I figure that two dots put together at different heights should be able to accomplish that, albeit with some difficulty.

      But yah, the TRUE potential of this thing has not yet even began to be explored.

      Think wireless LCD display glasses [nuvision3d.com] and with some of the Track IR dots, well heck, talk about a great time!

      Hey, I do not think that anybody has mentioned that these dots can be stuck onto ANYTHING and still work just as well. For the ultimate in simulation, some sort of faux-metal gun could be included with a trigger, reload, and all. Stick a few of these dots on to it in various strategically placed locations and you would have yourself a full 3d range of movement, combine it with the head display and you could EASILY have your gun in a game point in a different direction then from your viewpoint.

      Currently that feature is a major pain in the arse to implement in most games, heh.

      Hey any developers / funders want to get together with me on this one? ]:D
  • Does anybody know of any linux motion tracking projects that could do the same thing? It sounds really cool, but I was to cheap to pay $200 extra for XP when I bought my computer *shrug*
  • i move my eyes when reading, not my head. my neck is startign to ache just thinking about it.

    hardware was pretty cool looking though!

    IMHO, YMMV etc etc...
  • I just move my eyes. This won't help me.
  • This was on Slashdot just a little bit ago, here [slashdot.org].
  • "As an American, I like doing things the easiest way possible."

    I think it's a little off, though. What should have been said is, "As an American, I only like doing easy things."

    Seriously, I'm all for getting rid of the pesky mouse, but not because I don't want to have to move any limbs to interact with the computer. It's mostly because I get tired of moving my hands from the keyboard to the mouse and back again. As a programmer I can see this would be very useful (though I'm pretty good at getting around without a mouse these days). I can also see how this would be useful for handicapped folks. I cannot, however, see the point in getting one of these just so that you can be more sedentary. :)

  • Review on DansData (Score:4, Informative)

    by iamr00t (453048) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:40PM (#3409763) Journal
    Check it out [dansdata.com]
    As always, humor included :)
  • by mattbelcher (519012) <mattNO@SPAMmattbelcher.com> on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:40PM (#3409766) Homepage

    So here's the text of the article.

    Introduction

    Didn't you ever wish that you could just sit back and browse the web like it's made to be done? Didn't you just want to lie back and make your eyes do the talking and clicking for you? Well then, if you're like me, you will be looking for everything possible to make your time on the computer and on the internet, much more efficient and easier. As an American, I like doing things the easiest way possible. People have dreamed for a long time for something to make using the computer easier. When the mouse came along, that was a godsend and people were gracing it as the ultimate usability tool for the computer but now that we've progressed through high stages of computing, the mouse has remained relatively the same except for some laser technology. In comes the NaturalPoint TrackIR, which is a tool which supplements "not replaces" your mouse with something much better... your forehead. The concept is so simple that it's almost a crime to market and sell it off when most of us has been dreaming of things like this for years but to give credit where credit is due, NaturalPoint took it upon themselves to actually take the time to developing something like this and market it.

    Here's how it works, the TrackIR has 2 basic parts that make it work. The first is a camera that mounts on the top of your computer and second part is silver dots which you stick on your forehead, hat, etc... that catch the attention of the camera so that the cursor moves along to the movements your head makes. The dots have a cloth backing so you can stick it and remove it many times. The camera is sensitive enough to detect the silver dots and it will only detect those dots and calculate how it moves and translate it to cursor movements. So when the dots are on your head and you move your head left, the camera sees the dot moving to the left and therefore the cursor moves left. Actually, this isn't really a camera because all it can basically make out from everything else is the silver dots; it will not do anything like take pictures of your friends or of the city. The camera sends out infrared signals and the silver dots bounce the signals back to the TrackIR. The camera is connected to the desktop or laptop through USB. The cable is pretty short (good for laptops) and therefore it comes with a 4 foot long USB cable extension. Also, it has extra rubber pads for use with laptops. A good feature of this is that the device is powered by the USB port and therefore doesn't require any external power.

    The device comes in three flavors: the "standard" which has the camera, cord, software, and the dots...the "EG" (ergonomics) which has a clear case camera, two finger rings, and a breakout cable, this is meant to fully replace your mouse... and finally, the "AT" (assisted technology) model which helps out disabled people with special software. What I will be reviewing today will be the standard model.

    Installation

    When getting ready to install the device, you will see many, many notices in the packaging telling you to install the software before installing the hardware and this is a very important factor in getting this to work properly. I would've gone and tested what would happen if I installed the hardware first but I don't think that I would like to have taken that risk. After installing the software, you will need to reboot, then connect the hardware to the computer. The camera was meant to sit on a monitor or something pretty high up and level to your head or wherever you wish to place the dots. The camera has a metal base which can be bent to stabilize itself on any surface: monitor edges, desk edges, etc...The camera has a roughly 25 degree field of view which is quite adequate because it will most likely be positioned in front of you. Installation was fairly simple and straightforward, just like many USB webcams and devices. Of course here comes the tricky part or so it seemed: the software.

    System Specs

    AMD Athlon 1.2GHz
    Soyo Dragon +
    256MB Crucial PC2100DDR
    MSI GeForce2 Pro
    Turtle Beach Santa Cruz
    Maxtor D740X 60GB Hard Drive
    Plextor 12/10/32A IDE CD-RW
    Pioneer 16X DVD-ROM
    Microsoft WindowsXP

    Software

    The TrackIR doesn't work at all without the software running because it is not a native windows device like a mouse or a keyboard but making the software run on start-up isn't a big hassle. You'll know when the device is on and working when you see the green light on the top of the camera turns on. The software works with everything in the system and is basically like one of the apps everyone used to have that would move your mouse around a bit every couple of seconds to fool the AllAdvantage program. When you move the real mouse, it would disable the TrackIR program until the mouse stops moving. The software itself reminds me of the mouse control panel in Windows, it lets you control cursor speed, sensitivity, smoothness, etc...Smoothness is unique, when you set it to maximum smoothness, you get a very fluid movement from the cursor but also it seems to lag a bit...I like it because your head can be shaking quite a bit and the cursor would be steady, sort of like the Sony Handycam's Steadyshot. In constrast, minimum smoothness results in jerky and jittery movements of the cursor. Other functions include a double speed function in which the cursor moves at double the speed. Also, the gravity function lets you hit the hard to hit targets of the close, minimize, maximize, etc...buttons, they snap to a button when the cursor gets close to it so you can easily get the cursor close to the close button and the software automatically positions the cursor over the close button, where it thinks you intended to put it.

    The "Game Mode" function overrides the game's mouse controls so the TrackIR can be used for games. But in games, I found that precision and speed is lacking compared to a mouse and it would pretty difficult to be a champion while using the TrackIR as a game controller. These comments are for FPS and RTS games but for flight simulations, I've come to the conclusions from many reports that this is a good choice because of the ability for you to view out of the cockpit with the TrackIR and how it's a less point and click dependant genre than FPS or RTS.

    At this point you might be wondering how you click the mouse, both left and right click can't be done with your eyes blinking, I'm sorry but I don't think that function will ever be implemented, unless you would like to stick a few silver dots on your eyelids. Clicking is done through pressing designated keys on the keyboard, so you can have an almost hands free experience, notice the keyword being "almost".

    Common Usage

    What can I say about this device in terms of things I normally do such as browsing the web and checking email? The TrackIR can easily move the cursor as well as a mouse can and it's much easier moving your head than it is moving a mouse so I cant argue with it's ease and laziness factor. The only major problem that I think people will hit is that it takes time getting used to it. It takes time to adjust to the speed you move your head, the angles of visibility, and the range, and if you play games, those too. Also, the TrackIR catches onto many things that are bright...not just the silver dots. If you have a silver ring, there's a good chance it'll see that as a dot and track according to that. The bottom line is that you probably wont save any time by using the TrackIR but it's a good break from the standard mouse and also adds just a little bit to the human laziness factor.

    Pros & Cons

    Pros

    Works like advertised
    Makes life a bit easier
    Comes with many replacement dots

    Cons

    Lack of precision
    Wearing something that has silver dots on it
    Other shiny objects can throw off the camera

    Conclusion

    I'll give it to you, it's pretty cool to say that all you have to do to use your computer is look at the screen and move your head around a bit but considering everything up to this point, is it worth it? It would be if you could get 100% used to using the TrackIR but it's harder than it seems but the sensitivity and speed options do help. NaturalPoint has done a good job programming the software so that it makes the user have an easier time getting adjusted to the TrackIR. Once properly modified, the TrackIR can be one cool toy but it probably will not be put out for mainstream use or adopted by any OEM's because overally, it will take longer to do things with the TrackIR then it will with a simple mouse. If you're into cool toys that have functionality, give this a try but don't rely on it outside of simple tasks, such as deathmatches.

    SLRating: 7/10

  • I definitely could've used it for my bout of tendonitis, but when will we get the hands free keyboard? NOT voice recognition, a hands-free keyboard, with cameras and all that good stuff.

    instructions: Point your nose at what key you would like to press, then lurch your head foreward

    Note: I know somepeople would complain about the lack of resistance and clicking noise :)
  • So my question is how does it work if yoiu are wearing glasses ?
    How does it handel background noise (ppl walking past ect ?
    de review doesnt seem to mention much of this

    I dout this would be usefull for anything except for handsfree porn surfing.
    Oh wait a minute euhh where can i order one :)
    • So my question is how does it work if yoiu are wearing glasses ? How does it handel background noise (ppl walking past ect ?

      And what happens if you've got a chair that spins and you do a 360....does the pointer leave one side of the monitor and reappear on the other? or do you need to give yourself whiplash to bring the mouse over to the other side?
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    ...side note.. /.'s lameness filter is annoying.
  • by Sergeant Beavis (558225) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:42PM (#3409785) Homepage
    Silver dots?!?

    I'm already the geek of my neighborhood, but if I forget to take those things off I'll never hear the end of it I'm sure.

    I'll pass since it isn't as precise as a mouse but I'm really taken by the concept. Especially if I can play CounterStrike or UnReal Tourney with it.
    • As far as CS and UT go, I don't play those but I do play TFC.

      I said this the last time this thing was posted on /.

      Play sniper with this dot on your forehead and imagine this situation.

      "Nid what the Hell are you aiming at? You missed that last guy by half the map."

      "STFU! I've got the damned hiccups!"


      • I rememberseeing something like this on TV a few years ago where you had to blink instead of a mouse click. How on earth do you get away with not blinking though?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    They're trying to turn us all into hindus! I'll never do that, I'm happy enough with my religion!
  • Fortunately I've been working on my telekenisis and can scroll and click links just by thinking about it.

    • Funny you should mention it, as I'm waiting for a thought-controlled wearable pc with 802.11.. pair it up with X10 for lights/appliances and IR converters, and now just thinking about changing the channel on your tv will make it happen! You'll send email by thinking it out, and hearing it read to you by festival in an earphone. You'll get small stimuli to indicate when your Internet connection goes up and down. Of course in the early versions, I can see having to snap wires onto the back of my head like the cochlear implants (or are they magnetized?)

      Check it [bbc.co.uk] out.
      • A computer directly controlled by the human mind will give new meaning to the term Garbage In, Garbage Out. Computers will instantly regress to the days of the Vic20 and your PC will display nothing but porn.
  • I'd rather have a worn out wrist than a worn out neck.

    -c
  • I think it was on slashdot's last story that someone posted a URL to this site [mykinesis.com]. Well, I convinced my employer to buy me a macro footpedal and one of the professional qwerty/dvorak keyboards (I already am a dvorak typist).

    It's been an interesting switch, and I most certainly find some advantage in the footpedal. My hands leave home row significantly less than the average typist. I believe this could make me a faster typist overall given some more time.

    I also jump in Quake with my big toe now.

  • by arikb (106153)
    Maybe that could have helped me with my RSI - I am writing these lines with minimal right-hand movement, as my wrist is covered with a large elastic bandage.

    RSI = Repetitive Strain Injury [tifaq.com], just in case you didn't know.

    --Arik

  • I try to read by just moving my eyes, since it's supposed to be faster and
    takes less effort. How about if they came out with a reflective contact lens, then
    you really wouldn't have to move.
  • I believe I saw another slashdot article about a similar technology used to aim missles on fighter jets.
  • This product has been reviewed on a few flight sim sites already.
    Flight Sim 2002 has what's called a "virtual cockpit", letting the user pan allaround his aircraft, and still be able to use the instruments. With this addon, instead of being stuck using the numpad or a hat switch to pan around, they can use their head to look around (within reason, of course).

    It makes visual approaches and landings alot simpler when you only have to glance left or right to line up, instead of fumbling for buttons.
  • Lazy people. (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by fmaxwell (249001)
    Definitely worth a look for us truly lazy folks.

    Did it ever occur to you that this device could really improve the quality of life for a handicapped person? Maybe you could start yucking it up about how great wheelchairs are for people too lazy to walk. Your sensitivity is truly impressive.
  • [rogers.com]
    Mirror
  • If I'm not moving it and clicking it with my hand, then what part of my body _am_ I using?

    ACK!
  • SLDave wrote in to request his database be slashdotted.
  • Interesting stuff, but this seems pretty primitive. From a human interface point of view, I can't help feel that having to keep moving your head to move the pointer is going to cause neck strain, especially for tasks that involve a lot of "mousing".

    A few years ago, there were some consumer cameras which used a laser to detect where you were looking the viewfinder, and then focussed on that area. Something like that seems to have a lot more potential, and would make the suggested "blink to click" metaphor much easier to implement as well...
  • by sTeF (8952) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:52PM (#3409854) Homepage Journal
    whoohoo! slashdoted, but not only the webserver, but i guess also their smtp mail server. go slashdot, go!!!

    > There seems to have been a slight problem with the database.
    > Please try again by pressing the refresh button in your browser.
    > An E-Mail has been dispatched to our Technical Staff, who you can also contact if the problem persists.

    • Someone at my office set up an infinite loop sending out e-mail earlier today... In the space of a few seconds, sent out nearly a thousand. Lucky they were to his internal mailbox :-)

      Anyway, I saw that and thought 'Oh good, those admins are going to be delighted that they set up their machines to send them an e-mail whenever this happened' - I mean, they'll be drowned. Way worse than my colleague's unfortunate accident...

      Still, it'll be pretty obvious to them that something's wrong :-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...and this supposedly /saves/ work?
  • by realgone (147744) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:55PM (#3409877)
    I can't say for sure, since I haven't tried the thing, but wouldn't having the camera track a silver dot on your forehead result in slower cursor speed the farther you move it from the center of the screen?

    What I mean to say is that your head doesn't move in a purely horizontal (or vertical) fashion; rather, it swivels atop your neck. So as one nears the extremes -- trying to move the cursor to the right screen edge, for instance -- there would be less purely horizontal motion for the camera to detect, since the silver dot is describing a curve.

    Maybethe product compensates for this at the edges? Or detects depth? I don't know, but I'd be interested in finding out.

    • A little lesson in geometry might answer your question...


      You're right about there being less motion in the head near the edges, however, less motion is required to describe the movements near the edge. A user's head tilting 45 degrees from orthogonal to the center of the screen describes a circle of radius 5", if her face is 5" from the screen. (Too close, I know, but just for sake of easy math.) Add another 45 degrees to that, and she's 90 degrees from the screen, defining an infinite plane, parallel to the plane of the monitor. Infinity is what we like to call "far," Russ.


      Now, those are just two points, but I think you can get it from there... very small changes at the edges translate into large motions over the plane (in this case, the monitor).


      This may mean that there's a potential problem with resolution at the edges, but not with motion or speed.

      • Could you tell I was an English major? *cough* =)

        So, please, bear with me for a little while longer, because I think I'm almost getting it.

        The scenario above, if I understand it correctly, describes a person tracking something on a screen. In that case, an increasing return on angle to x-distance makes perfect sense. (Whew.) But the review gives me the impression that this mechanism works in the opposite manner. That is, one's head isn't doing the tracking along the width/height of the screen, but is the object (silver dot) being tracked from a single fixed point (camera) above the screen.

        I've already admitted I was an English major, so I don't have any formulas to fall back on here. Instead, I'm reduced to scribbling on scratch paper and trying to describe that. We have the circle of radius 5" you described. We have the head mouse-using woman facing the screen. Observing it from overhead, if she turns her head 45 degrees to the right, the dot on her forehead moves a small distance the Y-axis and a larger one along the X-axis. (I'm still scribbling as I'm typing here). Now if she turns her head another 45 degrees to the right, wouldn't the dot on her head move a smaller distance on the X-axis than and a larger distance on the Y-axis as compared to her first movement? And if the camera only tracked movements along the X-axis...

        Anyway, thanks for taking time out for this impromptu geometry lesson. The world will be a better place for it. =)

    • honestly, you don't think they thought of this?

      my guess is just like joystick calibration, you go through a process where you center your head, all the way to the left, all the way to the right, up and down. then the program can make a smooth curve and make the mouse speed consistent.

      however, if they didn't, then this product is just retarded.
    • Unless I am mistaken (it has happened in the past, I'm sure of it!) the cursor would move faster. When translating the circular movement to a horizontal line, the further from your head, less movement would be required to trace an equal length. Think about it exagerated to the point of a 6 foot 2x4 sitting on a desk that you are looking at from left to right horizontaly. It would require more movement to scan the section in front of you, but as you move on to the end, less rotation of your head it required to keep it moving, until (say an 6 mile long 2x4) it requires hardly any movement all to keep scanning its length. Whenever I am presented with something I have trouble visualizing, I imagine it exagerated, sometimes to infinity (the angular motion of your head would approach zero as the linear tracking approched infinity). Hope that helps.

      That said, I think that within the confines of a small space (a standard or even a large monitor) the effects would be very small, maybe even negligible, but like you said, I haven't tried it, so that part is purely conjecture.

      I have always wanted a device that would track my movements this way, not for the mouse, but for windows activation. I always use focus-follows-mouse (even in windows (look for xmouse2k)). I am a programmer, so I am usually typing, but I have to move the mouse mostly to change windows (type code, compile, run, debug, repeat). But if the active window was whatever window I was looking at (touch typing needed, I guess) then I wouldn't ever need the mouse, except for graphics (which needs more fine precision than I expect this 'dot on my forehead' can do, I seems to me).
  • vBulletin vBulletin Message The server is too busy at the moment. Please try again later.

    ...make sure your server can handle /.

    ;)

  • Whoops (Score:2, Funny)

    by Vorro (124142)
    Clown just slashdotted HIMSELF. How ballsy is that? =)
  • Just use your eyes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 25, 2002 @12:59PM (#3409904)
    Your head will get tired, your eye's won't. Check out this link [ericainc.com] and look at their tool.
  • Stride and The Nod (Score:2, Interesting)

    by talmage (223926)
    Back in the day, a Nevada company called Stride made a microcomputer with a head-mounted input device called "the Nod". ISTR that the computer was a 68K system and that Jerry Pournell of _Byte_ was enamored by the thing.
  • by TheLoneCabbage (323135) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @01:01PM (#3409922) Homepage
    How hard would it be to figure out (given a fair training cycle) the orientation of a users head?

    The human head isn't THAT iregular of a shape(ok some people).

    couldn't you also track the movement of key color groupings as the head moves?

    This seems cool but:
    1) how do you click the mouse? (it would be cool to do it by blinking one eye or the other)

    2) I am not sticking a dot to my head. I can barely remember to take my head phones off before I leave my desk (CHOKE!!) I dread the idea of going all afternoon not remembering to take that stupid dot off.
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  • This site is toast.

    I wonder when somebody's going to decide to sue the living shit out of Slashdot for killing their site, therefore costing them downtime, robbing them of ad income, etc.

    Now *that* would be funny. And well-deserved, actually. Killing people's sites is bad, mmm-kay.

    --riney
  • Instead of the silver dots to use it, I want to put 4 General's stars on my forehead like that guy on The Young Ones (Adrian Edmundson?)

  • by BlueF (550601)
    Interesting idea for an alternate pointing device, but do you really want to point your forehead where you want to mouse? I dunno about you all but this sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen, whiplash anyone?

    Also, do use geeks really need to make this sort of fashion statement? Some kind of Silicon Valley, "I'm married to my tech-obsession" thing, ala Hindu tradition.

    All levity aside, I see how this device could help people, such as paraplegics. Although, I'm thinking that the related technology many of us are more interested in is the ability to mouse with eye movement, as I believe the US Air Force already uses with considerable sophistication, or even better, pointing/typing through brain waves.
    • as I believe the US Air Force already uses with considerable sophistication, or even better, pointing/typing through brain waves.

      I'll bet that system requires some pretty sensitive signal discrimination. I can imagine a typical session:


      Pilot: Auummmmmmm ... I am totally relaxed for smooth brainwaves
      System: One moment please...
      Pilot: Auummmmmmm... meditate for total concentration
      System: Mind lock achieved. Proceed.
      Pilot: Auummmmmmmm... nudge cursor to left
      System: Beep
      Pilot: Auummmmmmmm... a little more to the left
      System: Beep
      Pilot: Auummmmmmmm... left click
      System: Beep
      Pilot: Auuumm--- HOLY SHIT!!! INCOMING MISSILE!!!
      System: I did not understand. Please try again.
      Pilot: FULL THROTTLE!!! DIVE!!!
      System: Please try again.
      Pilot: DAMNIT!!! JUST DO IT, YOU FUC...[eof]

  • I reviewed it too... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Daniel Rutter (126873) <dan@dansdata.com> on Thursday April 25, 2002 @01:12PM (#3409986) Homepage
    ...a few months ago, here:

    http://www.dansdata.com/trackir.htm [dansdata.com]

  • I don't know about the rest of you, but I work an awful lot of the time with headphones on, and my head bobs to the beat pretty much nonstop... I hope the system is smart enough not to scroll up, scroll down, scroll up, scroll down, scroll up...

  • As an American, I like doing things the easiest way possible.

    Finally, a mouse that appeals to my sense of patriotism!

    Perhaps we can assume from this quote, that the company also supports the US policy of mucking around in the middle east so we can keep driving our SUVs. Because, as americans, this is easier for us than mass transit or alternative power.

    Be lazy! Anything else would be unamerican!

  • Great... (Score:3, Funny)

    by GriffX (130554) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @01:44PM (#3410153) Homepage
    Now I can get carpal neck, as well...
  • Un-resisted motion (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lostchicken (226656)
    Why?!?!
    People have tried to make "button-less keyboards" and mice before, and they don't work, because pushing a button, or a mouse is actually easier than moving nothing.
    Try this. Hold your hands apart, and as fast as you can, move one to the other. Try to get very close, but don't hit them. When you stop your hands, do it abruptly, without slowing down. Repeat.
    Now try it with your hand on something smooth, sliding on a desk. (like a mouse). This simulates the action of moving a mouse cursor to a target on screen.
    While this device is used for the head, not hands, the principle is the same. Resistance may make the quantity of a motion harder, it does make control easier.

    Humans have been manipulating things with their hands for ages. That is what they are for. Why should we go against nature?
  • If anyone here has worked in heavy manfg. or industry where you need to use a computer on the shop floor or at a workstation on a shop floor you'll know how quickly a mouse will die, I can see a thousand diffrent applications besides the use for "lazy people".
  • This may be a usable tool in a simple, single-monitor configuration. What happens when a user has multiple PCs?

    For example, my ideal work environment is one where I've got (at least) 3 PCs; each having its own monitor. The left-most system is where I do my coding and debugging. The middle system is where I run the application exactly as if I were a user (i.e. QA). The right-most system is where I run analysis tools on the output, log files, etc. (It may seem extravagent, but I've never seen a DESK with a 17-inch diagonal -- more/bigger monitors give me a larger "desk" on which to work.)

    How in the world could I use this head-tracking mouse on such a setup? From what I read in the article the head-tracking system can become confused when there are other shiny things in its field of view (e.g. silver rings; I'd hate to imagine what dangling earrings would do!).

    I'd need a head-tracking receiver for each PC and monitor, and I've only got one head ;^) So, as I'm working away on the middle PC, these receivers on the other PCs are going to be reading my head motions and mousing all over the place! Okay, so I'd need to use the keyboard to actually "click" on anything, so that's not a problem, right?

    Wrong! With all the tool-tips, ONMOUSEOVER, ONMOUSEOUT, etc. that we've got these days, I can easily imagine this scenario:

    • Working on one PC, I intentionally turn my head to move the "mouse" to, say, a hyperlink.
    • The other PCs are attentively watching my motions and move their mouse cursors, too.
    • As the other cursors are moving around, one moves its cursor over a tool bar and its tool-tip flashes on the screen.
    • So, I look over to see what happened.
    • The PCs see that I moved my head, so they move their cursors to follow my head movement, too, which in turn makes other tool-tips flash.
    • I turn my head to see what happened over there.
    • Lather, rinse, repeat.

    By the end of the day, I'm going to have one very sore neck, a splitting headache, and accomplished nothing more than making a lot of things flash before my eyes. Sounds like all the benefits of a hangover with out the pleasure of getting drunk. :(

    On the other hand, should these become popular, just think of all the fun you could have with your co-workers on April Fool's Day!

  • To quote:

    Here's how it works, the TrackIR has 2 basic parts that make it work. The first is a camera that mounts on the top of your computer and second part is silver dots which you stick on your forehead... The camera sends out infrared signals and the silver dots bounce the signals back to the TrackIR.

    Notwithstanding the fact that you're glueing felt dots to your head, you are actually intentionally aiming an infrared transmitter at your cranium! With the talk about cel phones and tumours going about today this one's got to be the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. Whoever dreamed this up must have spent a few too many hours "beta" testing.

    Next thing you know they'll announce a power amplifier that lets you control the mouse from over a mile away and keeps your head toasty warm in a snowstorm...

  • by glwtta (532858)
    For over $100 I get something that has poor tracking, only works in bloody windows and makes me look like more of a dork than a segway scooter would? Yeh, I think I'll stick with my Logitech wireless for a while.
  • Right now NaturalPoint works only with Windows, but according to their FAQ [naturalpoint.com]:

    Concern 10: If only it worked in Linux, Mac OS, windows 3.0, etc.

    Reply : Several members of our development community are working on linux drivers. And if we sense a lot of interest in a certain platform (like the macintosh OS. nudge nudge), we'll go ahead and crank out drivers for it.

    Cheers,
    -j.

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