Webcam Face trackers allow full control of mouse functions without the use of hands. They can be used to access a computer (Windows, Mac), as well as a tablet or smartphone (Android only at present).
Primary users of these technologies are people with motor impairments. There are various options for hands-free control of your mouse on a computer screen such as reflective dot trackers, lip and chin joysticks, speech recognition or even eye trackers. Webcam Face trackers are another possible option for hands-free control of your computer or phone.
Although it may not be as accurate as other hands-free options, such as wearable sensors, with this approach, you don’t have to wear a sensor or reflective dot. As you move your head, the motion is translated to mouse cursor movement by the webcam. However, you do have to maintain a direct line-of-sight to the computer, and the performance is dependent on lighting conditions.
Basic pointing device support on an Android tablet or phone is possible with EVA Facial Mouse. This is available through Google Play. It will allow access to functions of the mobile device by means of tracking the user’s face, captured through the frontal camera.
At the time of writing, a webcam face tracker is not available on iOS devices. However, it is possible to use Switch Control with head gestures to act as switches. For example look left for select, look right for home.
All 5 Webcam Face Trackers listed below have options for mouse dwell, click and drag lock.
There are two free windows webcam face trackers – Camera mouse and Enable Viacam. Both work quite well. For the paid options, SmyleMouse also tracks facial expressions and has the option of clicking with a smile. ViVo offers integration with leading speech recognition programs.
As there are trial versions for most of these options below, its best to try them all to really get a feel for it and see which one works best for you.
Wearable hands-free mice options to consider are:
ViVo Mouse $430
Camera Mouse free
Enable Viacam free
iTracker for Mac $35
The good: You don’t have to wear a sensor or reflective dot and they are battery-free.
The not so good: They are not as accurate as other methods of hands-free options.
The verdict: If you don’t need very fine cursor control and don’t want to wear a sensor on your head, then webcam face trackers are a good option for hands-free control.