Picture of Head Mouse - Game controller or disability aid

My kids wanted to have a head controlled mouse for playing Minecraft - they wanted to move their heads and have the field of view move. I decided that was a challenge I couldn't resist, so I decided to build a movement controlled mouse using an arduino and a gyroscope chip.


A-Star 32U4 Micro - a tiny Arduino Leonardo clone

LSM9DS0 Breakout board - a combined gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer

A 3.3V to 5V logic level converter

10k resistor

push button switch

strip board

I started off prototyping with an Arduino Uno, and but it doesn't have the ability to be a HID controller at the same time as being able to load the firmware via USB. I tried reading the sensors via the serial port, but that's just not the same as a genuine mouse because you always need a client piece of software running, which isn't elegant, nor is it always convenient. However, the Arduino Leonardo does have the ability to act as a mouse or a keyboard, so I decided to use one of those. In fact, what i decided to use was a clone of that. There is a fantastic clone board called the A-Star 32U4 Micro, which is tiny - just 1" x 0.6", and it's half the price, so it's a winner all round for this project,

For the gyroscope, I chose the LSM9DS0 chip which is a combined gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer, giving me the choice of being a bit more sophisticated about detecting movement. I don't have the facility to make my own circuit boards or to surface mount chips, so I bought it on a breakout board.

The LSM9DS0 runs with 3.3V outputs, but the processor needs 5V inputs, so a logic level converter for the SCL and SDA lines is required too.

Finally, it's a good idea to be able to turn the mouse operation of the device on and off without unplugging it - that way if you make a mistake, you can re-program it without the mouse feature running wild.

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AshfakA27 days ago

Sir, i have bought a gy-521 with MPU-6050 in order to make this project.can it be done or i need to change the sensor???please help.

soapdude1 year ago

Awesome and simple project for the electronics beginner!
Do you have any tips or suggestions as how to reduce drag of the mouse? I often find myself having to move the mouse to the side or the top of the screen to readjust the location of the mouse with respect to my head! Thanks in advance!

millmore (author)  soapdude1 year ago
Yea, I know what you mean - it's the same as moving your mouse too far left or right - you need to pick the mouse up and move it back again. Not so easy to do with your head. One thing I did experiment with earlier on was having the direction of the mouse output as a serial stream from the arduino, and have a simple PC app to listen to that and turn it in to a mouse location on screen. It worked well and is immune to over pointing, but it needs the client side app to work, which I didn't like so much.

So suuuuper late reply here, but could you possibly send me your code for this, or just a little more information on what you actually did?

Agatosh1 month ago

For everywhere else in the world who are using UNO and MEGA this is the alternative millmore was talking about:



This is not easy! It's better to invest in a A-Star 32U4 Micro

millmore (author)  Agatosh1 month ago
Very cool. Thanks for sharing.
aqibisl7861 month ago

Anyone can please help me in connection part.

i have arduino Leonardo, MPU-9150 and logic level converter.

Thank you.!

aqibisl7862 months ago

Awesome project. i wish to do same. soon i will start to build it your instruction as mentioned.

afenrir made it!2 months ago
First I tried it on Leonardo but it becomes too bulky that's Y I used micro made some changes in the code works like a charm

Has anyone done this project, or something similar, using the MPU6050? I have been fiddling with it, but have not had too much success as of yet, and would appreciate some assistance.

ca65 months ago

i am using a sunfounder push button with three pins: gnd, +5v and signal, how would i set up the button?

ca65 months ago

what do i do with the headmouse2.ino code/file, i cant see it in this instructable

millmore (author)  ca65 months ago
That's the code that you need to load in to the Arduino. Download the arduino IDE from http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software and install it, then create the directories I mention in Step 2 for the c++ code. Then open headMouse2.ino in the arduino IDE and connect your arduino to your computer using the usb cable, and in the IDE you can send the code to the arduino.
ca6 millmore5 months ago
so do i just copy and paste the code?
millmore (author)  ca65 months ago

Yes, that would work.

returner6 months ago

Sir i have a question, can i use an arduino mega for this project? will it still work?

millmore (author)  returner6 months ago
It's not quite as simple with a Mega because it can't act as a HID device without some fancy bootloader, whereas the Leonardo based devices can do natively. I believe it's technically possible, but I have never tried it.

Dear Sir:

Its an excellent project. I am also working on a similar project called "Wireless inertial pointer". Its similar to a wireless mouse like the one you showed in your video but in my device I will be adding buttons for right and left click.

I am using arduino UNO and MPU 9150. I have combined the gyro data and accelerometer data using complimentary filter. Everything is working very well and I am also able to move the cursor on the screen but however it is not smooth enough and therefore doesn't acts like a pointer. I want my cursor(pointer) on screen to directly go to the point where I am projecting the device instead of going through the x and y axis values.

I hope my question is clear to you I will be very grateful if you can help me out. Following is my code that makes use of mouse.move method.

if(compAngleX > 90)

compAngleX = 90;

if(compAngleX <-90)

compAngleX = -90;

if(compAngleY > 95)

compAngleY = 95;

if(compAngleY <-95)

compAngleY = -95;

int x = map(compAngleY, -90, 90, -10, 10);

int y = map(compAngleX, -90, 90, -10, 10);


Thanks and Regards:


millmore (author)  sufiyan.muhammad.98 months ago
If you look at my code for running as a mouse with auto clicking (Step 6), you will see that I average over the last 100 readings. That's specifically to smooth out the movement. You should probably do the same.


Also Sir, I am facing problems with the yaw angle that I am getting using the magnetometer, even after removing the soft iron and hard iron errors. The yaw angle is not stable and changes significantly when the roll is changed (rotation along the x-axis). Can you please suggest what I can do about it. Would really appreciate your help. Thanks a lot!

To make the readings smooth and avoid jitters I have used complimentary filter. Which Sensor Fusion algorithm you have used ?


LeoB37 months ago

Great Tutorial, thanks!

I want to do the same thing, with my EDtracker (Sparkfun Micro Pro-with the GY-521 MPU6050 (no magnetometer) www.edtracker.org.uk

Trying to make a 360 degree sensor for FPV games for use on my DIY Rift.

EDtracker comes with a sketch that emulates joysticks up to 180degree (90left, 90right etc..) I would like to make it 360 obviously, but should I just flash new sketches to turn it into an air mouse, like yours? Is that even possible? I'm completely new to Arduino and I have no coding experience.

Im assuming your code won't work with mine. Any suggestions?

millmore (author)  LeoB37 months ago
From what you say, I imagine that you'd be better off editing their code - it's designed specifically for that hardware. I really recommend learning to code - it's such a useful life skill, and there are some brilliant sites out there for beginners.

Anyway, I took a look at their code, and if you look at line 460-462, you will see the constraints they have added to limit it to 180 degrees;


I suspect that all you need to do is change those lines. But also, learn to code - it's easy, doesn't cost anything and opens up loads of new projects.
LeoB3 millmore7 months ago

Thanks very much for the response. I will try to learn to code, but it looks so alien to me. I wouldn't know where to begin. But yes, I would love to be able to.

aca708 months ago

Hello, I still cant get the code to work and been reading all the comments. Is there any way you can do a quick video on the code?

millmore (author)  aca708 months ago
What doesn't work about it for you?
tmalau9 months ago

Cool, i have made this one with LSM9D40 and A-Star 32U4 Pro Micro sparkfun 3,3V/8MHz and it's works. thanks

Now, i'm gonna going for mouseclick

millmore (author)  tmalau9 months ago
Great. Well done!
tmalau9 months ago

finally i got this problem:

headMouse2.ino.ino: In function 'void setup()':

headMouse2.ino.ino:163: error: 'Mouse' was not declared in this scope

headMouse2.ino.ino: In function 'void mouseMoveGyro()':

headMouse2.ino.ino:263: error: 'Mouse' was not declared in this scope

i hope u can reply my comment thanks. I use a star with 3,3 v/8Mhz

millmore (author)  tmalau9 months ago

Not all aruinos support Mouse - only the Leonardo and ones based on that (such as the A-Star 32U4 Micro). If you pick the wrong device in the arduino IDE, it won't compile as it won't find that library. Make sure you install your hardware drivers and pick the right device in Tools->Board.

tmalau millmore9 months ago

thanks for reply, i found solution of my problem.


I use pro micro 32U4, sparkfun board. I think i can use 2 board ( A-star 32U4 pro micro and LSM9DS0) to make it, with out converter. I hope your kindness can help me. Wish me luck

tmalau millmore9 months ago

thanks for reply, i found solution of my problem.


I use pro micro 32U4, sparkfun board. I think i can use 2 board ( A-star 32U4 pro micro and LSM9DS0) to make it, with out converter. I hope your kindness can help me. Wish me luck

kelin.wheeler9 months ago
Eureka! Thank you so much!
millmore (author)  kelin.wheeler9 months ago

Brilliant, glad you got it working!

kelin.wheeler9 months ago

Hey, excellent project. I've built the circuit but an having an issue with the sketch. I'm admittedly better with soldering than software, so any help would be appreciated. the error i'm getting seems to be all about the LSM9DSO constructor, it reads:

LSM9DSO:83: error: 'LSM9DS0' does not name a type

LSM9DSO.ino: In function 'void setup()':

LSM9DSO:130: error: 'dof' was not declared in this scope

LSM9DSO.ino: In function 'void mouseMoveGyro()':

LSM9DSO:258: error: 'dof' was not declared in this scope

LSM9DSO.ino: In function 'void recordAverageGyro()':

LSM9DSO:270: error: 'dof' was not declared in this scope

any guess as to what i've done wrong?

millmore (author)  kelin.wheeler9 months ago
Did you include the library files SFE_LSM9DS0.cpp and SFE_LSM9DS0.h? See the end of step 2 for the instructions to do that.

thanks for replying, I'm sure this is a simple fix. I have, they are under Mydocuments>Arduino>Libraries>SFE_LSM9DSO

and under that is my headmouse2 folder, containing headmouse2.ino

millmore (author)  kelin.wheeler9 months ago

When you go to Sketch -> Import Library in the Arduino software, you should see SFE_LSM9DSO. If you don't, you haven't installed it right. headmouse2 doesn't need to be below the library folder - in fact it would be unusual for it to be.

EddieLearner11 months ago

Hi! Great project!

I'm trying to make this project with an added feature, making it wireless. Any suggestions and recommendations?
Also A-Star is not available in our country. Can I use Fio v3 or Pro Micro?

millmore (author)  EddieLearner11 months ago

You could turn it in to a bluetooth mouse using a BlueSMiRF. I found a good tutorial for that here;


Yes, you can undoubtedly use a different arduino compatible board. I chose the A-Star because it is small and could act as a HID, but if you are using the BlueSMiRF, it will be the HID, not the arduino, so you have more options.

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