Building An IR Mouse Interface For The Disabled

[Chris Young] has a physical disability that means he can’t use a mouse very well. He typically uses Dragon Naturally Speaking for moving his mouse using voice commands but has found that it lacks some features he needs and can crash at times.

His solution to this problem was to create a device that will translate IR signals from a simple remote into mouse actions and movements. He is using an Arduino micro for this task, and as you can see in the video it seems to have worked out well for him. He has code and schematics available on his site if you would like to recreate this yourself.

[Chris] has actually built several accessibility devices for himself and others. You should check out his blog for more, including his thoughts on the cost of commercial accessibility equipment vs DIY. If you think you would like to try making a device to help someone with a physical disability access a computer, hop on over to and join up on the forums.



9 thoughts on “Building An IR Mouse Interface For The Disabled

  1. I was thinking “that’s awesome someone is building him assistance devices”. Then he started going over the code and editing the videos and HOLY WOW he is doing it all himself! That guy is an inspiration!

    1. Look up FlashControl for Chrome. Problem solved (blocks all flash object until you click on them. Very useful on annoying news sites, or sites that for whatever reason have the ESPN auto-play thing in the sidebar, even when they’re just dealing with something completely non-sports-related. But I digress)

  2. My earlier comment seems to have been lost in the wind.

    I asked why he didn’t simply buy a wireless numpad and setup macros/mouse keys.

    The only benefit I can see over using the remote control setup is that his wheelchair already has a remote control attached..

    1. You can also buy IR reciever/remotes for computers that simply map the buttons of the remote to keyboard input. Map the remote to work the numpad, and simply use mousekeys.

    2. There’s also the fact that every cheap DVB/ATSC television dongle that I’ve had, has had a remote that simply toggles keys on the keyboard. I have one connected right now, and when I press the buttons, numbers appear. The previous one I had had a simple text file where you could write your own mappings, so I made it to work Winamp’s global hotkeys.

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