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Nose-controlled device may replace computer mouse

OTTAWA - A Canadian inventor has designed a computer mouse steered by movements of the nose and eyelids.

The invention, dubbed a "Nouse," is meant to help people with a disability use a computer.

Engineers are exploring new ways to move a cursor, instead of a mouse and keyboard.

Users would move a cursor around a computer screen by moving their nose and blinking instead of clicking a conventional mouse.

Dmitry Gorodnichy of the National Research Council's Institute of Information Technology is presenting his research at a public symposium in Ottawa on Thursday.

The work, which is in its testing stages, is also featured in the journal Image and Vision Computing and in the British magazine, New Scientist.

Until now, attempts to link facial movements to a cursor have used a webcam to focus on the eyebrows or mouth. But these features can be difficult to recognize when the face is slightly tilted, confusing the computer.

Gorodnichy said the nose is preferable because the organ of smell has a characteristic pixel pattern on its tip, which is easier to track.

He's developed a few applications so far, such as NousePaint and an aim-and-shoot game called BubbleFrenzy.

Written by CBC News Online staff

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