A report describes the first phase in an effort to enhance the NaviGaze software to enable profoundly disabled persons to operate computers. (Running on a Windows-based computer equipped with a video camera aimed at the user’s head, the original NaviGaze software processes the user’s head movements and eye blinks into cursor movements and mouse clicks to enable hands-free control of the computer.) To accommodate large variations in movement capabilities among disabled individuals, one of the enhancements was the addition of a graphical user interface for selection of parameters that affect the way the software interacts with the computer and tracks the user’s movements. Tracking algorithms were improved to reduce sensitivity to rotations and reduce the likelihood of tracking the wrong features. Visual feedback to the user was improved to provide an indication of the state of the computer system. It was found that users can quickly learn to use the enhanced software, performing single clicks, double clicks, and drags within minutes of first use. Available programs that could increase the usability of NaviGaze were identified. One of these enables entry of text by using NaviGaze as a mouse to select keys on a virtual keyboard.

This work was done by Glenn Beach and Ryan O’Grady of Cybernet Systems Corp. for Goddard Space Flight Center. GSC-14930-1