Introduction: [Idea] Air Mouse

A simple design (idea) to allow you to move the mouse pointer with hand gestures. This design used a LED and 9 photocells to watch shadow movements cast by your hand, and then convert that to mouse pointer movements on your computer.

Step 1: The Idea

The idea for the "Air Mouse" was to be able to control your computer simply my moving your hand trough the air. Each photocell is arranged in a 3x3 matrix to detect the shadow cast by your hand so the microcontroller can determine in witch direction to move the mouse pointer. A LED raised above the device will help create a sharp contrast between the shadow of your hand and every ware else. The advantage of this design is it doesn't matter what hand you use, you could even use your foot if you really wanted.

If a shadow is detected over the central and bottom center photocell then the mouse will be stationary. A shadow over every cell in the middle vertical column indicates a up movement. Just the bottom center is a down movement. Right center and right bottom is right, all the right hand row is up/right, just bottom right corner is right/down, and all this mirrored for left movement.

It's a fairly simple design, and the device itself wouldn't be hard to create. The challenge would be in the programming, and even that shouldn't be too overly difficult. If you got really creative you could very the speed of the pointer by watching how much shadow is over a particular photocell. If you used an IR led and a photocell capable of detecting IR light you could make a design that won't light up the room and create glare, while not being to influenced by bright lighting.

Comments

author
jam BD (author)2011-02-19

You can also try using the webcam with image analyzer outputting to a touchpad driver.

author
MJTH (author)2008-08-14

Logitech Have An Air Mouse, That works in the air or on a desk. Check it out its pretty sweet. But I cant imagine the accuracy in air would be too good.

Click Here For The Mouse

author
mikemmcmeans (author)2008-06-27

you should hook this up to an arduino

author
RetroPlayer (author)2008-03-31

Since optical mice are essentially a low resolution camera with super close focus, why not just use one of those?
I just did a not-so-scientific experiment with mine by putting a spare lens I had under the sensor and propping it up off the desk. When I move my hand under it, it can *sorta* track it. A better lens would be better, I think.

Oh and the movements were reversed (fixed with proper optics?) Hmm...

author
jackever (author)2008-01-30

Great idea, but Some commercial presentation controls already use other technologies to do this, perhaps similar to Wii controllers. Also my Intel camera came with software to do similar control for interactive games. I am not sure but I believe it also had direct mouse like control too.

author
SB057 (author)2007-11-25

Great idea!

author
Jafafa Hots (author)2006-05-13

Wait until Nintendo's Wii comes out - someone's bound to hack it into a mouse.

author

well, its out now. go search for hacks

author
mikesty (author)2006-05-11

My arm would grow tired after a good session of web browsing or CS:S :( Nifty idea but not too practical IMHO.

author
Hungry_Myst (author)mikesty2006-05-11

You could use your foot :P

author
zachninme (author)Hungry_Myst2006-12-07

Eye tracking would be the best, but that would cost sooo much money it isn't funny :P

author
zachninme (author)2006-09-20

Somewhere (maybe Make:) there was something on using a webcam and two LED's in ping-pong balls (to diffuse the light) to use as a "controller" for Google Earth.

author
Dr. No (author)2006-07-30

Use the instructions and software from http://sci-spot.com/Electronic/headmouse.htm to make the headmouse thing, except mount the IR LED on a glove and the camera on the monitor. Tear apart a wireless mouse and hook the buttons up to contacts the fingers of the glove, and then strap the circuit board and batteries to your forearm. You'd get better range, plus the ability to click on things.

author
andy (author)2006-05-12

Why not instead use a cheap webcam? Create a program to run in the background and track the movements of a led at a certain frequency (lessening the impact of interference from other light sources) and use something like a small (marble sized) opaque sphere around said led, allowing for three dimensional tracking for use as the clicker (as it gets smaller the program knows it is further away and vice versa, to click just prod towards the screen). It'd be an idea to have a button on the light to turn it off so that your arm doesn’t get tired as quickly, though. Could be good for games

author
MrCakes14 (author)andy2006-06-02

If you really wanna go nuts, mount a led (maybe ir), make yourself a tracking system, and mount the led on a pair of glasses (or just frames or something, you get the idea). That way it tracks the movement of your head...good excersise! It's not terribly practical, I know, but it's still pretty cool...

author
nab (author)2006-05-12

If you are interested in using LEDs as sensors you should check out this post on hackaday.com that has 3 very good links about this topic. There is also a very neat video.

link: http://www.hackaday.com/entry/1234000873073550/

author
nab (author)2006-05-12

If you are interested in using LEDs as sensors you should check out this post on hackaday.com that has 3 very good links about this topic. There is also a very neat video.

link: http://www.hackaday.com/entry/1234000873073550/

author
Crash2108 (author)2006-05-12

They have things for head tracking for looking around in simulators, I assume it could also work with a hand..

author
prank (author)2006-05-11

So, something that's along these lines (although a lot more work) is to have a set of xyz gyros on your hand to get the acceleration, and then integrate the acceleration twice to get hand position. Just a counter-idea...

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