October 22nd, 2010
08:18 AM ET

Operate a computer with only your head

A teenager is working on an idea he hopes will help thousands of people with disabilities use computers better.

Gavin Ovsak, 16, designed a circuit board attached to a baseball cap that allows someone who can't move his or her hand well to operate a computer without a mouse. It essentially turns your head into a joystick, he said.

Head movements direct the cursor in the computer screen, and a bite sensor lets a user click on something on the screen. Gavin wrote a computer program that controls this device. He was also featured in this CNN.com story about achievement and motivation.

In the photo above, Gavin, left observes as Jim Kelley, client service specialist at the Courage Center rehabilitation facility in Golden Valley, Minnesota, operates the device. Gavin also had some of the center's clients test the CHAD.

"It was particularly gratifying to see that every individual with a spinal
cord injury who tested my device was able to start controlling a cursor in a remarkably short time," Gavin wrote in his research report about the CHAD.

Between 250,000 and 400,000 Americans live with spinal cord injury or disease, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association. Many of them have limited function of their limbs. Condition such as Lou Gerhig's disease, myelitis, and polio may also leave individuals with limited arm muscle function.

Patients with quadriplegia have difficulty accessing computers without the aid of an expensive and complex device, Gavin said. He tried to make the CHAD simpler and more economical than what's currently out there.

One type of device on the market now is a tongue-operated joystick, but this is cumbersome and at least $1,800, he said. Another is an infrared tracker that involves a sticker placed between the user's eyes that moves the mouse around, starting at about $900 - but if you don't move for a while, the computer thinks you are "clicking," which can make reading difficult and distracting. The most sophisticated option right now is the EyeGaze, which begins at around $8,700, and uses a camera array to track eye movement, Gavin said.

The CHAD, on the other hand, would cost about $500 and could be used on any computer, and is able to adapt to any computer almost instantly, he said. For example, a user could take it to the public library, whereas many of the options currently available can be used only on one dedicated computer.

It's more than half the usability of the mouse, but it's still not perfect - Gavin is currently making lots of little improvements to it, and hopes to sell it, at least on a small scale, before he goes to college next year.

Here's more from his website.

soundoff (603 Responses)
  1. Video Marketing Specialist


    May 9, 2021 at 20:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. RV Windows Near Me


    May 9, 2021 at 22:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Social Media Marketing Company Irvine

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thanks, However I am experiencing problems with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 10, 2021 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Content Marketing Associations

    Saved as a favorite, I like your website!


    May 10, 2021 at 19:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Content Marketing Brea

    After looking over a few of the blog articles on your blog, I honestly appreciate your technique of blogging. I book-marked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my web site too and let me know what you think.


    May 11, 2021 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Digital Marketing Studio


    May 11, 2021 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Seo Marketing Job


    May 11, 2021 at 08:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Internet Marketing Mentor

    I'm more than happy to find this site. I wanted to thank you for your time for this fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you book-marked to look at new things on your blog.


    May 11, 2021 at 10:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Social Media Marketing Company Cypress

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful article. Many thanks for providing this information.


    May 11, 2021 at 11:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Digital Marketing Studio


    May 11, 2021 at 12:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Seo Marketing Company Near Me


    May 11, 2021 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Google Marketing Jobs

    Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking the time and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get nearly anything done.


    May 11, 2021 at 16:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. refrigerators orange county


    May 11, 2021 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. rv step repair parts

    Everything is very open with a very clear explanation of the challenges. It was definitely informative. Your website is useful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 11, 2021 at 21:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Body Repair San Diego


    May 11, 2021 at 21:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. motorhome mechanic near me


    May 12, 2021 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Authorized Repair Shop

    Good post. I definitely love this website. Stick with it!


    May 12, 2021 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. dashboard repair near me


    May 12, 2021 at 07:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. truck paint shops near me


    May 12, 2021 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. RV Wraps California


    May 12, 2021 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. progressive photo inspection near me

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 12, 2021 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. RV Mechanics California

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly believe that this web site needs a lot more attention. I’ll probably be back again to see more, thanks for the info!


    May 12, 2021 at 15:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. motorhome repair


    May 12, 2021 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. rv repair fort bragg ca

    Spot on with this write-up, I honestly think this web site needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the advice!


    May 12, 2021 at 21:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Sprinter Side Door Repair


    May 12, 2021 at 21:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. upholstery places near me


    May 13, 2021 at 02:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rv body repair


    May 13, 2021 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. RV Refrigerator Los Angeles


    May 13, 2021 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. remodel motorhome interior

    It’s nearly impossible to find well-informed people for this topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks


    May 13, 2021 at 13:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Sprinter Rust Repair Panels

    You're so cool! I don't think I've truly read through a single thing like this before. So good to discover someone with a few genuine thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. many thanks for starting this up. This site is something that's needed on the web, someone with some originality!


    May 13, 2021 at 13:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. repairing rv blinds


    May 13, 2021 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. rv and camper repair near me


    May 13, 2021 at 23:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. paint a dream palmdale


    May 14, 2021 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Sprinter Ecu Repair


    May 14, 2021 at 03:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. the truck shop orange


    May 14, 2021 at 09:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. windshield repair orange ca


    May 14, 2021 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Glasses Near Me


    May 14, 2021 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. homes for sale near my address

    This is the perfect website for anyone who wishes to understand this topic. You know so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject which has been written about for decades. Wonderful stuff, just great!


    May 14, 2021 at 15:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Maserati Ghibli S Q4 For Sale


    May 14, 2021 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. truck modification shop near me

    Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Finding the time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.


    May 14, 2021 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Eye Exam Near Me


    May 14, 2021 at 22:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Maserati Lease Deals

    Hello! I just want to give you a huge thumbs up for your excellent information you have got here on this post. I'll be coming back to your site for more soon.


    May 15, 2021 at 03:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. orange shop near me

    Great information. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance (stumbleupon). I've book marked it for later!


    May 15, 2021 at 04:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. houses for sale near my location


    May 15, 2021 at 04:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. homes for sale spirit lake

    Great post! We are linking to this particularly great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 15, 2021 at 05:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. nearest house for sale


    May 15, 2021 at 06:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. houses for sale rathdrum id

    This is a topic which is close to my heart... Take care! Where are your contact details though?


    May 15, 2021 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Faulkner Maserati


    May 15, 2021 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. sound system repair near me


    May 15, 2021 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Video Marketing Agency


    May 15, 2021 at 21:41 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Leave a Reply to rv step repair parts


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.