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 Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 21:39 GMT 22:39 UK
Teen inventor creates 'mouse mitt'
Computer mouse users
Computer mouses are used by millions of people
A schoolboy from south Wales has invented a device to allow sufferers of repetitive strain injury to use a computer mouse.

Tobias Patterson Jones, 16, from Brecon, mid Wales, took up the idea after his mother developed RSI.

The technology could not only aid RSI sufferers but also mean big strides in the lucrative games industry.

Mouse mitt
The mouse mitt could prove a hit device

Tobias set about devising a glove to attach to a mouse-like device, which allows the hand to move through the air, as sensors send messages to the computer.

Bending your fingers has the effect of clicking a normal mouse button, Tobias explained.

"The sensor maps out the movements, transmits it to the computer, which moves the cursor on the screen," he said.

The so-called "mouse mitt" began life as a prototype device, with cables linking it to a computer.

Now the Coleg Powys student has come up with a new infra-red design, which is being developed for computer game use.

Tobias Patterson-Jones
Tobias Patterson-Jones: Hand control

The student said the mouse mitt cuts down on the movements that cause problems and that it has the potential to revolutionise the way computers can be operated.

Mother Gill - who developed RSI after years working on computers - calls her young inventor the "gadget man".

The invention's appearance on The Discovery Channel's Science Night will have done its chances of becoming a success no harm at all.

'Very expensive'

Tobias was shortlisted on the programme to receive free specialist help and advice about issues such as design and patents.

But the difficulty for Tobias is he needs financial backing to take his ideas forward, as the components needed are very expensive.

John Emmanuel, the product adviser behind vacuum cleaner millionaire James Dyson has supported Tobias, reflecting the confidence in the product.

Coleg Powys IT teacher Karen Perkins said: "There are so many people working in the IT industry that anything which could help people with RSI will be brilliant."

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  ON THIS STORY
  BBC Wales' Melanie Doel
"The mouse mitt could be a significant advance"
See also:

15 Oct 02 | dot life
16 Jul 00 | Business
13 Mar 02 | Science/Nature
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