How to Control Your Mouse With Your Webcam.
Camera Mouse is a simple Windows application that allows you to move your mouse cursor using head movements. You can use it to scroll through web pages, open applications and games. The app was developed by Boston College for people with hand movement disorders such as cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, etc. The app is free to use and does not require additional peripherals. It works easily on any Windows OS.
Before you get down to business, please note that scrolling speed and accuracy depend on the quality of the webcam video. Thus, a bad webcam can lead to poor scrolling and accuracy.
Quick How to: Calibration and Other Settings
First of all, download and install the software. After installation, you will be prompted to calibrate the “Face Feature”. This will be the hook for all tracking movements. Here’s a quick tip: I mostly use the tip of the nose or chin as the facial feature to track, as it’s an easy way to find the midpoint and control the mouse. After you’re done, you can turn your head and see the mouse movement in the preview. You can change this tracker at any time.
Read: Best mouse on the market for big hands
After you set the trackpoint, the program will use it to move the pointer. Apart from this, there are several other settings such as Timeout that you can use to improve the user experience.
Now the exact value of “Dwell Time” is a left click. It works for the purpose of choice. In my opinion, this is the most important feature that you should enable right after installing the Camera Mouse app. To do this, simply go to the Settings menu and in the Clicking tab check the click option. In my case, I saved the “one second” delay time with a “normal radius” (for better accuracy).
Read: How to use your computer’s mouse (and keyboard) for Android
Other functions such as hotkey to launch motion pointer, double tap, adjust pointer sensitivity, etc., are some of the settings that the user can customize.
Can I run other applications with the program?
No! But if you can get over the urge to use a mouse, here are a few apps like Copter and Aliens & Paint that don’t require keyboard or mouse dependency. If you want to use it more seriously and want to practice your typing, downloading apps like Free Virtual Keyboard will allow you to type by simply pointing at the onscreen keyboard. I tried using Windows built-in on-screen keyboard, but it didn’t work at all. It’s good even for kids as it opens them up to focus on creating games specifically designed to improve their focussed gaze decision-making skills, such as Look to Learn.
- Doesn’t run smoothly until standing on a simple platform such as a table.
- Not practical for full accuracy and small targets.
- Fading when other applications access the camera.
- Cannot handle lighting changes properly.
- Does not replace the mouse.
There are several alternatives you can try, but if you’re on Windows, the Camera Mouse app should be enough. One alternative is a powerful Chrome extension called Cam Scroller. It is open source where you need to create your own swipe gestures. But it doesn’t work as smoothly as a mouse with a camera. Also, the app is not available for Android, but if you still want to play, you can install the EVA Facial Mouse app, which has an on-screen action menu for easy scrolling and control. There is also an option for Mac users called iTracker (not in the app store) that you can buy for $ 34.99. It only has a 30 minute trial period though, which is much less.
It may not be a replacement for a mouse, but for someone like me who spends a lot of time at the computer, surfing the web, researching and even writing, it can be a great addition to the mouse. So, I can grab the mouse whenever I want, but when I’m working on WordPress and all my fingers are busy with the keyboard, this is a great way to scroll and switch between tabs without having to lift my fingers while typing. If you find this method useful or if you are using another way to replace the mouse, let me know in the comments section below!
Also Read: How to Use Your Computer’s Mouse (and Keyboard) for Android