Inventors are getting even younger, as 16-year-old Tobias Patterson-Jones from Coleg Powys college in Wales, proves. He was chosen alongside three other inventors to showcase his invention, the Mouse Glove, on the Discovery Channel's science program, What's the Big Idea?
Patterson-Jones originally designed the Mouse Glove to help disabled people and those suffering from RSI (repetitive strain injury). The prototype design is a wearable mouse device housed in a glove, which allows its user to control the cursor with natural hand movements.
"I like the idea of a wearable computer so I wanted to contribute to it," said Patterson-Jones, who came up with the idea of the Mouse Glove after seeing a wearable computer which contained a disappointing table mouse. "The first design had a cable to a computer, so I changed it to a wireless device."
The glove uses a Cmos (complimentary metal oxide semiconductor) sensor to take 1,500 photographs per second. Each image is then sent to a DSP (digital signal processor) for analysis. The DSP, operating at 18Mips (million instructions per second) detects a pattern in images and determines how those patterns change between each image.
Based on this change in pattern, the DSP determines how far the mouse has moved and sends the corresponding coordinates to the computer. The computer moves the cursor on the screen, based on the coordinates received from the mouse. This happens hundreds of times a second so that the cursor's movements should appear smooth.
The user's first finger acts as the left-click and middle finger as the right. When the finger is bent a micro switch is triggered which causes the 'click'.
But perhaps the most impressive part of the glove, aside from the freedom and movement it offers its user, are the interwoven muscle wires. The wires provide feedback to the user, so that if they were playing a game in which they picked up a gun, the computer would send a signal to the glove, limiting its movement so that the user would feel like he or she was actually holding a gun.
Patterson-Jones is currently seeking sponsors who can contribute towards research and development.
The device will now go through to the next stage of the series.