demonstrates his invention
between dreams filled with electrical and mechanical objects that
I have never seen in my entire life. Next morning I wake up and
see if I can create them…” says Channa Ranawaka, Gold
Medallist of the Junior Inventors Competition 2003.
Channa’s creation, the MCO Mouse, a mouth and chin operated
computer mouse especially designed for the disabled and handicapped,
won him the top prize at the competition organized by the Institution
of Engineers Sri Lanka last month.
student of the Kegallu Maha Vidyalaya, Channa has been fascinated
by anything mechanical ever since he broke his first toy car to
see its inside.
he was very small, I had to buy a torch every other month, because
he used to remove all the parts and use them to make his own circuits
and stuff,” recollects his father who is extremely proud of
his son’s achievements. “But it did not take long for
him to learn how to fix almost anything; from electronic appliances
to my motorbike.”
The MCO (Mouth
and Chin Operated) Mouse for the disabled and handicapped is a specially
designed computer mouse for those who cannot manipulate a normal
computer mouse with their hands.
computer mouse requires the operator to use his/her hands, left
or right, supported by the arm and forearm. This, says the inventor
of the MCO, is a regrettable denial of the computer world to those
who are physically disabled.
MCO Mouse has four main components; the mouth clicker, the chin
piece, the adjustable podium with mouse pad, the auto wire retractor
and the head strap,” explains Channa.
The Mouth Clicker
should be placed inside the mouth of the user. It has been designed
to do the left and right clicking functions. The chin piece has
been slightly adapted from a normal computer mouse. To scroll the
mouseball, in order to move the cursor on the screen, the user has
to keep his chin on this part and slightly move his head. The head
strap fixes the chinpiece to the chin. The disabled person can be
at a comfortable position thanks to the adjustable stand.
his creation at the Techno 2003 exhibition. With the encouraging
comments he received from Sir Arthur C. Clarke and many other engineers,
he hopes to continue turning his innovative ideas into practical
applications. He has already applied for the patent for this invention.
of the MCO is that it can be used on any computer available in the
world right now. It also works on any computer software. The cost
is also a big advantage. An alternative computer mouse for the disabled
available in the market now costs ten times the price of a regular
computer mouse. “For example there is one advertised on the
Net that costs about Rs. 45,000,” says Channa. The MCO Mouse,
on the other hand would cost almost the same as a normal computer
and bolts, tool boxes, rolls of wire and a thousand and one gadgets
fill his room, evidence of many more inventions in the making. His
bed, for instance has a metal frame fixed to it, apparently “a
convertible mosquito net for the handicapped and aged”. The
poster behind his door gives us a clue as to his inspiration: It
‘For a world beyond disabilities ……
you out there
To reach an equality where we belong…’