2003 Conference Proceedings

Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2003 Table of Contents 


Headpointing Technology: A Comparative Project

Presenter
Barbara Phillips, MS OTR ATP
Occupational Therapist
bphillips@dhs.co.la.ca.us
Las Floristas Center For Applied Rehabilitation Technology
at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation

Andy Lin, BS
Assistive Technology Specialist
alin@dhs.co.la.ca.us
Las Floristas Center For Applied Rehabilitation Technology
at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation

BACKGROUND

Our team of therapists and technologists at CART serves individuals with severe physical limitations by providing consultation and access to technology in a number of areas. Many of our clients are candidates for head-tracking access to their computer or communication system. Over the years, we have had opportunities to work with different technologies that provide head-tracking mouse control. Several manufactures currently market head-tracking mouse devices. In contrast to a few years ago, when there were only one or two products from which to choose, today there are at least six. They range significantly in price, versatility, and configuration, raising the question of how should the clinician choose the optimal pointer for their client, and how should the client choose for themselves?

This session will focus on the findings of our comparison study using actual users with disabilities, and highlight the systems currently on the market. We will give examples how they can meet the needs of particular users based on the participation and feedback of several CART clients in this study.

STATE OF THE ART TECHNOLOGIES

This is a partial list of products currently marketed for head tracking mouse control, arranged alphabetically.

INCENTIVES

This study was prompted by a number of motivators:

STUDY FOCUS

We chose to study the performance of the various head-tracking mouse products currently on the market exclusive of other software sold with them or for them by the manufacturers. Covering the head tracking mouse product group in combination with the variety of dwell-selection, rate enhancement, and on-screen keyboard programs would require more time than we could devote to this project. Perhaps a future project will tackle the latter products and compliment our preliminary findings.

TESTING DEVICE CHARACTERISTICS

We identified several activities that normally require mouse control, and the different tasks that computer users need to be accomplish. Our evaluators are performing a battery of tasks to evaluate each head-tracking system's characteristics, including:

TOOLS AND ACTIVITIES

In the course of this study we used a variety of tools to assist our clients in evaluating system performance, including:

DISCUSSION AND CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS

For those individuals who are primary mouse users or have little functional hand use, head tracking is becoming a more affordable and more portable option. During our conference session, we will discuss how particular users with specific disabilities or impairments can make use of head-tracking systems, and how each of our test clients favored or disliked each of the systems they worked with.

ABOUT CART

The Las Floristas Center For Applied Rehabilitation Technology at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, in Downey, California, has been serving persons with disabilities of all ages for over 10 years in the greater Los Angeles, California, USA area. Assistive Technology teams address clients' needs for seating and wheeled mobility, augmentative and alternative communication, computer access, and environmental control. For more information, call CART at (562) 401-6800, or visit our web site at http://www.rancho.org/cart.


Go to previous article 
Go to next article 
Return to 2003 Table of Contents 
Return to Table of Proceedings


Reprinted with author(s) permission. Author(s) retain copyright.