Assistive technology: second place at the WINTEC award

Christoph Veigl, Veronika David, Martin Deinhofer, and Benjamin Aigner from the Institute for Embedded Systems were recognized at the highest level for their work involving interaction aids for people with severely limited mobility: They achieved second place at the Social Ministry’s WINTEC award. This annual award recognizes innovative scientific projects that help to break down barriers and reinforce the concept of inclusion. Second place is endowed with a cash prize of EUR 5,000.

v.l.n.r.: Christoph Veigl, Benjamin Aigner, Martin Deinhofer; Übergabe der Urkunde durch O.Univ.Prof. DI Dr. Sabine Seidler, Rektorin der TU Wien (Copyright: BKA/Denise Rudolf)

From left to right: Christoph Veigl, Benjamin Aigner, Martin Deinhofer; presentation of the award by O.Univ.Prof. DI Dr. Sabine Seidler, Rector of the Vienna University of Technology (copyright by BKA/Denise Rudolf)

“The aim of our research is, among other aspects, to measure the residual motor skills of physically disabled people and to enable them to harness these skills to use computers or other everyday items,” summarizes Christoph Veigl. An example here is the development of the “FLipMouse”, a special input system that can be used through minimal lip movements or residual mobility in the fingers, replacing the conventional computer mouse.

The system was originally developed for a patient with quadriplegia, complete paralysis of the body below the second cervical vertebra. “Given that the patient is only able to move her head, we made use of lip movements to develop a low-cost mouse with which she can use her computer autonomously, in particular email programs, the Internet browser, video-telephoning software, and certain gaming applications.”

The device is mounted on an articulated arm and operated using a mouthpiece that is 10 cm in length. The FLipMouse also offers other functions such as the recording and reproduction of infrared codes to remotely control consumer electronics or to use smartphones, iPads or other tablet computers by means of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).

Combining the FLipMouse with low-cost eye tracking enables the advantages of this input option to be included and avoid drawbacks: on the one hand, eye tracking is used to move the cursor over larger areas of the monitor, which enables it to be positioned quickly. On the other hand, the FLipMouse is used to place the cursor more precisely in the desired location by means of moving lips or fingertips. The switch between eye tracking and the FLipMouse is automatic.

More information on the WINTEC award:
Austrian Federal Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection (German)

Downloads and information about the tools: 
AsTeRICS Academy

Degree program on the subject of assistive technologies:
Bachelor’s degree in Smart Homes andAssistive Technologies