Recently, electrical engineering major Stephen Norris met with the University of Rhode Island’s Intellectual Property Committee (IPC) to discuss his hands-free mouse. He presented his invention and answered questions about the technology and its capabilities.

“They needed to know about what it is to make a decision on it,” said Norris. “So basically I told them about how the device works, and what’s unique about it. There are professors from the university that basically make up the committee, so if someone wants to propose an invention then they present the invention and the committee makes a decision on it [and decide] whether or not to invest in making a patent for it.”

The IPC has not yet notified him of their decision regarding whether or not to patent his device, but Norris expects that they will. If the IPC chooses to patent his invention then he would allow the committee to make their own decisions about its future. “What would happen is that they [run] it, and I’ll probably help out a little bit but I think they’ll probably handle most of it,” said Norris.

Norris plans to continue improving his handsfree mouse over the summer, including plans to add one more sensor. “This one would basically act as the middle mouse button activator,” said Norris. The new sensor would enable users to have scrolling simply by moving their hand, rather than moving and clicking the center on a regular computer mouse.

Before he graduates in the fall, Norris will be completing the mouse and all of its improvements for his thesis, since he has not had much time lately for edits on top of his end of the semester work. As the mouse itself is his thesis, he will be handing it in for a pass or fail grade in the fall. “It’s like here’s your degree, now get the hell out of here,” said Norris.