Smart Mouthware Computer Mouse

Overview:

My name is JJ Moritz. I am an engineer and former researcher who started a company with the goal to 'enable and empower people'. Last year I began working with Colin Heffern to create a mouse for people without use of their hands, a device that Colin has been envisioning for 10+ years. The Smart Mouthware Computer Mouse is a wireless computer mouse built into an orthodontic retainer that enables the wearer to control their computer, tablet or smartphone by moving their tongue across the roof of their mouth. Over the past year we have invested our time, money, and energy to build this product and now need your help to finish it. Money raised will be used to fund user testing,  make final tweaks to hardware and software, and to pay for FCC testing and certification. Our goal is to launch the first version of this product at an assistive technology conference this summer. In order to achieve this, we need to raise the first third of our goal by March 14, and the remainder by mid April.
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Your support means that we will be able to provide an affordable and effective means for many people with disabilities to work, communicate, and lead more fulfilling and enriching lives.

Myself, Colin, and everyone who has worked on this project are incredibly grateful for any support we receive. Every dollar we raise is validation that the risk we've taken to build this product is worthwhile.


Background Story:  
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In 2004, Colin Heffern suffered a spinal cord injury on his college campus that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Shaken, but resilient and with a strong support system behind him, he strove to push forward and make the most of life. After intense rehab, Colin returned to school and his passion – landscape architecture. Inconveniently, the field requires skills in hand drawing, drafting, and photomanipulation, and he was uncertain if and how he could succeed without the use of his arms and hands when physical ability plays such an important role. With few options available but armed with a strong will, Colin learned to use a combination of computer tools to complete his work and continue studying a subject he loved.

Still, Colin recognized the inefficiencies of his computer set-up and routinely imagined a faster and more effective solution. His idea was to incorporate a mouse pad into a retainer, which the operator would control with his or her tongue. The idea was briefly given life when Colin was able to recruit help from engineering students who explored the feasibility of the device; however, the project died when classes ended.

Colin completed his Bachelor’s degree in 2010 and Masters’ degrees in 2013. He now works as a landscape architect for the National Park Service. Unfortunately, he still relies upon decade-old devices and software; inefficient technology that has been slow to improve to broaden the population it serves.

In 2019, JJ Moritz released his first product through his company Sapien LLC. The Cthulhu Shield  was a productized version of tools he had built for neuroscience research as a graduate student. In addition to useful research functions, the product could be used as a tongue-controlled computer mouse. JJ took the product to the Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) at his local university to see if it could be helpful to any students.

Speaking with the occupational therapists, who gave useful feedback for possible improvements to the device, JJ became aware of the problems with available computer tools that Colin struggled with every day. The therapists put JJ in contact with Colin and they later met face to face, where they quickly connected and realized their shared vision.

Fundraising:

For the past several months, JJ and his partners at Sapien have been working with Colin to make the product he envisioned using Sapien LLC’s technology. JJ and Sapien have spent hundreds of hours designing, building, and testing prototypes and have invested tens of thousands of dollars in product development. They are now asking for your help finishing the development, testing, and certification of the Smart Mouthware Computer Mouse.

We are hoping to raise enough money to bring this product to market. Funds from this campaign will be used to pay for the remaining hardware and firmware development, build two rounds of prototypes for 15 beta testers, and test and certify the Smart Mouthware Computer Mouse with the FCC so it can be sold in the United States.
 
Spinal cord injury treatment and rehab is incredibly expensive, and the cost of assistive technology was the #1 concern from patients we talked with about our product. Our goal is to offer this product to users for less than $400. If you or someone you know could benefit from Smart Mouthware, or if you simply believe that people with spinal cord injuries, neurodegenerative diseases, or other conditions affecting their ability to use their hands, should have an affordable and effective way to use a computer, tablet or mobile device, please consider supporting this project.

Supplementary info:

For more information about the product and development status, please visit Sapien LLC’s website at sapienllc.com/crowdfunding.

Donations ()

  • Diana Obrinsky 
    • $100 
    • 4 d
  • Andrew Kustas 
    • $50 
    • 4 d
  • Jack Thornton  
    • $100 
    • 5 d
  • gene hakanson 
    • $50 
    • 5 d
  • Don Davison 
    • $25 
    • 5 d
See all

Organizer

JJ Moritz 
Organizer
Fort Collins, CO
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