New technology – Tongue drive system

It is always interesting to read about new developments in the technology sector. There is so much research being done to try and make life easier for disabled individuals, with technology such as eye control, head control and now ….tongue control. So I though I would give you a little info on what is happening on the tongue control side.

Dental Retainer

Tongue control is still very much in the research stage but some say that is becoming more and more of a reality already. Basically what is being done at the Georgia Institute of Technology at the moment, is that they are attaching a magnet to the tongue of the user and the

Universal interface for the intraoral Tongue Drive System that attaches directly to a standard electric wheelchair. The interface boasts multiple functions: it not only holds the iPod, but also wirelessly receives the sensor data and delivers it to the iPod, connects the iPod to the wheelchair, charges the iPod, and includes a container where the dental retainer can be placed at night for charging. ( Credit: Maysam Ghovanloo)

user then also wears a small dental retainer with embedded sensors. These sensors track the movement of the magnet and send signals wirelessly to a computer or electrical wheelchair. This will allow the user control the computer with their tongue, much like one is able to control a computer with a mouse.  The software will allow one to program as many commands as an individual can comfortably remember.

The Georgia Institute of Technology have already tested an earlier head set version (instead of the dental retainer) on individuals with high spinal cord lesions. During trials individuals have had to use the Tongue Drive System to operate a computer and navigate an electric wheelchair through an obstacle course. The next phase will be to test the new dental retainer with these individuals, as although the previous system worked well, it was too big and obvious and tended to move, therefore requiring repetitive recalibration.




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