Flipmouse – Open Source computer input device

The Flipmouse (pictured above and below) is one of the outcomes of the AsteRICS project. AsTeRICS (Assistive Technology Rapid Integration & Construction Set) – (asterics.eu) – was an EU funded project that ran from 2010 to 2013 whose goal was to create a free and Open-Source construction set for assistive technologies (AT).  We will look at the AsTeRICS software in more detail in a later post, this post is concerned with an innovative open source alternative computer input device called the Flipmouse whose complete build instructions will soon be available on the related AsTeRICS Academy site
(asterics-academy.net/).
Flipmouse showing 1)Reset switch (for software updates) 2)Internal switch (Button1) Man using Flipmouse to control a computer

The FLipMouse – alternative computer input device is a combined Joystick, Spi&puff and Switch interface. By combining three established input methods in one device this innovative computer access solution could offer efficient computer access to a range of people with significant physical disabilities.

Labeled photo of Flipmouse: “Hygienic Stick”, can be used with fingers or as a mouthpiece. 3 indicator LEDs (red, yellow, green) 3.5mm jack plug connectors for external switches (Button2 and Button3)

The hardware features of the FLipMouse include (taken from Flipmouse User Manual) :

  • “Zero-way”-joystick (requires very little force to operate) / mouthpiece:
    • very low forces are sufficient to create up/down/left/right movement.
    • can be used with fingers or toes etc.
    • can also be used as a mouthpiece (actuated by lips / mouth movements).
    • If desired, sip / puff activities into the mouthpiece can trigger additional functions.
  • One function selection switch, to change the active configuration of function.
  • Two 3.5mm jack plug sockets for attaching external switches to trigger additional functions.
  • 3 Indicator Leds for showing the active configuration, calibration procedure etc.
  • Additional upgrade modules for future extensions (e.g. universal infrared remote control).
  • Firmware upgrade via Arduino IDE (the reset button is only needed for this purpose).

Users can interact with the FLipMouse in several ways:

  • by touching the mouthpiece with the lips or fingers and applying small forces in vertical or horizontal direction.
  • by increasing or reducing pressure in the mouthpiece (puffing or sipping).
  • by actuating (up to) 3 momentary switches.
  • if desired, a longer plastic tube can be attached to the pressure sensor so that the joystick can be used with a finger and a separate mouthpiece allows sip/puff control.
  • With the FlipMouse GUI application, the functional mappings of the user interactions to desired mouse- or keyboard activities can be defined and stored in the FLipMouse’s memory. The settings stay saved also when the power supply / USB cable is removed. When the FLipMouse is plugged in the next time, the settings will be available – also if you use another computer or operating system.

The FLipMouse offers multiple internal memory slots to store different functional mappings that can be used with different applications or tasks.

Detailed build instructions should be available soon from the following URL however the software and user manual can be downloaded now.  asterics-academy.net/tools/flip

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