For the Heads Up project The Rix Centre Charity investigated and evaluated cost-free head and eye tracking solutions, like Head Mouse, Camera Mouse and virtual keyboards. The project was funded by Nominet. We produced a bank of tools, resources, video guides and free software downloads to help you try out these assistive technologies for yourself.
Heads Up Project
Funded by The Nominet Trust, this project set out to evaluate cost-free head and eye-tracking solutions which employ cheap consumer webcams and gaming peripherals.
Much of the work took place at Lansbury Bridge School in St Helens, Merseyside, where staff and students spent many hours testing software and hardware for The Rix Centre.
Commercial head & eye tracking solutions targeting Assistive Technology (AT) applications are often prohibitively expensive.
Schools and Local Authorities are under ever-increasing budgetary pressure and Statutory routes to specialist provision are often mired by delays, or subject to tacit rationing. Free software might offer a potential stop-gap solution or, for some students at least, a suitably robust alternative.
Disabled adults without employment and beyond compulsory education have fragmentary access to AT funding at best. The only route to AT for many disabled adults, especially those with learning disabilities, is likely to be free and low-cost solutions.
Thirdly, it is rare to see experimental and ad hoc exposure to technologies such as head & eye tracking at an early age; in the same way that a non-disabled child might naturally encounter and play with a standard mouse or touch device. The comparative ease with which free solutions can be widely deployed could be a route to equivalent experiential use from a very early age.
Watch Kirsty’s video for a taste of how these tools can bring benefit to people with complex disabilities.