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How to use a Mac without hands

Accessibility  

Many people are, like me, unable to use a keyboard and mouse/trackpad for longer periods of time. The solution, as always, is to use your head.

Moving the Mouse Pointer

iTracker doesn’t automatically start controlling the mouse pointer when launched, even if you tell it to in the preferences. Nor will it do anything when you click the icon in the menu bar and select “Track” from the menu. It will only start working when you press the global keyboard shortcut for pausing and resuming iTracker (Cmd-Shift-T by default).

iTracker is the only Mac head mouse software I know of that actually works. It uses the web camera on your Mac to locate your face, see which way it is moving, and move the mouse pointer accordingly. Sounds weird, but it quickly becomes second nature. After adjusting speed and sensitivity you should be able to reach all corners of the screen just by turning your head.

In the beginning I couldn’t understand why it was working fine some days, and others only intermittently. It turns out some clothing confuses iTracker so it thinks my face is on my chest. It’s simply not compatible with all clothes. Also proper lighting is important. If the room is too dark the speed of the mouse pointer will vary depending on how bright the screen image is. Or it won’t move at all. I have a lamp pointed at the white wall behind the computer which reflects enough light back on me to keep me properly illuminated. But if large parts of the computer screen rapidly change from light to dark or visa versa the pointer might make a sudden jump, because the amount of light hitting my face changed.

If the pointer starts moving very slowly or not at all, try putting your arms across your chest. This will remind iTracker that your face is not down there. Try different clothes if this happens very often. All in all it’s important to not take the things iTracker does personally. Occasionally it will mistake a chair for your face, but it doesn’t mean anything by it.

iTracker has not been updated in a while, but the developer has informed me that a new version is under development with some exciting new features I am really looking forward to.

Clicking

Having successfully moved the mouse pointer, it would be nice to actually click too. There are several options:

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