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Dowell app helps people with arm paralysis use smartphones.

India, April 24 -- Researchers have developed a new app that aids people with arm paralysis to use smartphones.The tool is designed to assist people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), muscular dystrophy, stroke and other ailments that restrict movement.

The Dowell app has a user interface that works with a variety of input methods, called computer assistive devices, for disabled people. The app can receive information from a head-tracking camera, trackball mouse and mouth stick, which can be used for manipulating a cursor with the mouth.

"Until now, people with upper-limb disabilities have been limited to PCs if they want to use computers," said developer Ahn Hyun-jin, a student at Seoul National University's Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology.

In a demo, Ahn attached a small red sticker to his glasses and stood in front of a smartphone linked to a HeadMouse Extreme, a wireless optical sensor that can track the sticker. Ahn navigated through the app's menus by moving his head from side to side as well as selected menu items by leaving the cursor on it for a few seconds. He repeated the demo with a trackball mouse, which is a large red sphere used by people with limited finger movement.

Ahn stated that eight disabled users had tried out the app as part of its development and responded positively to it, even though they had never used smartphones before. He plans to release the application to the Samsung Apps platform in a few months.

The project will be presented at the 2015 Computer-Human Interaction Conference (CHI) in Seoul this week.

In February, an Israeli company had launched Sesame smartphone, the first completely hands-free Android smartphone for disabled users. The device allows users to control the device with head movements and is meant for people with spinal cord injuries, ALS and others.

Source: Business Standard

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Date:Apr 24, 2015
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