Computer mouse is arguably the most fundamental element that let us interact with our PCs. It’s been with us for several years now, and we heavily rely on it to perform everyday computer tasks. Similar to the fact how tech led us to use computer mice or touchpads to control curser movement, it has also introduced a handful of other techniques to perform the said operation. For instance, some computer applications can use your webcam to recognize hand movements to move the curser across the display. One such application that crossed my way is NPointer. It’s a gestural computer control software that records hand or head movements through a webcam, and translate them into mouse pointer movement. It’s an extremely handy tool for disabled folks who are unable to use a mouse. I have stumbled upon a few similar tools in the past, and to my astonishment, this one worked really well, in contrast to almost all those that we’d previously seen. It also provides an on-screen menu to perform key actions, such as mouse clicks, double-click, scroll wheel or drag. Keep reading for more details about NPointer.
The application requires optimal webcam positioning for accurate cursor control, especially if you are aiming to use hand movements on a table surface. Make sure that the camera is pointed towards your hand, firmly mounted on a higher surface. The software itself resides in the system tray, keeps running in the background without intercepting your workflow. Its Settings console lets you adjust four different parameters before usage. For example, Motions speed refers to how fast the pointer moves in reaction to your hand. Likewise, you can also adjust the pointer’s Acceleration level. Menu timeout slider enables you to specify the idle time before the on screen action menu appears. Lastly, Movement cut-off allows you to adjust the frequency of ignoring those movements.
The Action Menu is a set of six virtual buttons that appears along the mouse pointer (with a cross pointer in the middle), when you leave it idle for a few moments. This menu replicates your physical mouse buttons, which are left-click, right-click, double-click, scroll and drag (LD). You can also trigger the Off action to cut pointer movement during absence of your hand from the table. In the Settings console that I stated earlier, if you mark Head/frontal control option, you can use your head instead of hand gestures. I was amazed to see how extremely well the Scroll function worked for me. It provides a lucid web experience, especially if you need to scroll through long-winded pages.
Even though it has a steep learning curve, and may need some time to get used to and properly sync your gestures, NPointer is a hard-headed utility, which, if used properly, has various usage scenarios. It works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.