Evaluating Camera Mouse as a computer access system for augmentative and alternative communication in cerebral palsy: a case study
MacLellan, Lauren Elizabeth
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PUPRPOSE: Individuals with disabilities, who do not have reliable motor control to manipulate a standard computer mouse, require alternate access methods for complete computer access and for communication as well. The Camera Mouse system visually tracks the movement of selected facial features using a camera to directly control the mouse pointer of a computer. Current research suggests that this system can successfully provide a means of computer access and communication for individuals with motor impairments. However, there are no existing data on the efficacy of the software’s communication output capabilities. The goal of this case study is to provide a comprehensive evaluation of Camera Mouse as a computer access method for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for an individual with cerebral palsy, who prefers to use her unintelligible dysarthric speech to communicate her desires and thoughts despite having access to a traditional AAC system. METHOD: The current study compared the Camera Mouse system, the Tobii PCEye Mini (a popular commercially available eye tracking device) paired with speech generating technology, and natural speech using a variety of tasks in a single dysarthric speaker. Tasks consisted of two questionnaires designed to measure psychosocial impact and satisfaction with assistive technology, two sentence intelligibility tasks that were judged by 4 unfamiliar listeners, and two language samples designed to measure expressive language. Each task was completed three times—once for each communication modality in question: natural speech, Camera Mouse-to-speech system, and Tobii eye tracker-to- speech system. Participant responses were recorded and transcribed. RESULTS: Data were analyzed in terms of psychosocial effects, user satisfaction, communication efficiency (using intelligibility and rate), and various measures of expressive output ability, to determine which modality offered the highest communicative aptitude. Measures showed that when paired with an orthographic selection interface and speech-generating device, the Camera Mouse and Tobii eye tracker resulted in greatly increased intelligibility. However, natural speech was superior to assistive technology options in all other measures, including psychosocial impact, satisfaction, communication efficiency, and several expressive language components. Though results indicate that use of the Tobii eye tracker resulted in a slightly higher rate and intelligibility, the participant reported increased satisfaction and psychosocial impact when using the novel Camera Mouse access system. CONCLUSION: This study is the first to provide quantitative information regarding the efficiency, psychosocial impact, user satisfaction, and expressive language capabilities of Camera Mouse as a computer access system for AAC. This study shows promising results for Camera Mouse as a functional access system for individuals with disabilities and for future AAC applications as well.