Mouse Manipulation Through Single-Switch Scanning

Susie Blackstien-Adler, Fraser Shein, Janet Quintal, Shae Birch, Patrice L.Tamar Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Given the current extensive reliance on the graphical user interface, independent access to computer software requires that users be able to manipulate a pointing device of some type (e.g., mouse, trackball) or be able to emulate a mouse by some other means (e.g., scanning). The purpose of the present study was to identify one or more optimal single-switch scanning mouse emulation strategies. Four alternative scanning strategies (continuous Cartesian, discrete Cartesian, rotational, and hybrid quadrant/continuous Cartesian) were selected for testing based on current market availability as well as on theoretical considerations of their potential speed and accuracy. Each strategy was evaluated using a repeated measures study design by means of a test program that permitted mouse emulation via any one of four scanning strategies in a motivating environment; response speed and accuracy could be automatically recorded and considered in view of the motor, cognitive, and perceptual demands of each scanning strategy. Ten individuals whose disabilities required them to operate a computer via single-switch scanning participated in the study. Results indicated that Cartesian scanning was the preferred and most effective scanning strategy. There were no significant differences between results from the Continuous Cartesian and Discrete Cartesian scanning strategies. Rotational scanning was quite slow with respect to the other strategies, although it was equally accurate. Hybrid Quadrant scanning improved access time but at the cost of fewer correct selections. These results demonstrated the importance of testing and comparing alternate single-switch scanning strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-42
Number of pages15
JournalAssistive Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2004


  • Computer access
  • Mouse emulation
  • Scanning
  • Single switch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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