Alternative mouse input—head tracking

I’m interested in keeping my hands on the home row. This is going to be a bigger deal when I mount the 2 halves of a split keyboard at my sides, so my hands will be too far away from the desk to use the mouse.

There are led-based tracking systems, usually infra red. These seem to require custom computer software. Other software I tested uses a webcam, but is quite slow.

I have found an interesting approach here.

It uses an Arduino with a gyro and accelerometer breakout board. I think with a Leonardo board, or similar, the design could be simplified (no USB chip). Also, Adafruit offers a LSM9DS0 breakout board with the logic level converter built in.

Since the Leonardo-type boards can do a usb hid mouse and a serial connection at the same time, we don’t even need a button, just an app on the host to ping once in a while to tell it to recenter, in case of gyro drift. In this case, the resistor wouldn’t be needed either.

That leaves 2 parts total. Also the Leonardo can be swapped out for something tiny with the same mcu.

I don’t need to completely replace the mouse, but it would be nice to take breaks from it while standing if possible.

Input nirvana?

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I wonder if a better solution would be to use the eye tracking and then use something like mouse keys to finish the precision movements. I like the idea of warping as it exists today in the mouse keys plugin, but with multiple monitors it can get pretty confusing and its not very intuitive where the mouse will end up without some kind of overlay. Ideally gaze tracking would solve this issue because you could warp to a general location and then use wasd for finishing the job. Just an idea.


The best I’ve come up with can be shown in the video below. I use SmartNav, Dragon Dictate, and X-Keys. This allows me to navigate with my head, talk with my mouth, and click with my feet. Very good for RSI sufferers. It’s not just “as good” as mouse and keyboard. it’s actually BETTER than mouse and keyboard.

Hands-free computing with Dragon, SmartNav, and X-Keys