Georgia Institute of Technology engineers have devised a tongue-based driving system for people with high level spinal-cord industries.
The Tongue Drive System comes in the form of a dental retainer instrument activated by a tongue piercing. A tiny magnet is attached to the piercing and the dental retainer is armed with sensors that track the movement of the magnet. These signals are wirelessly transmitted to an iPod Touch or iPhone where software installed on the device's interprets the userís commands. This is then used to control the movements of a cursor on the devices screen which replaces the joystick function in similar powered wheelchairs.
Earlier versions of the prototype involved a complicated headset, but the headset would shift during use causing a need to re-calibrated the device frequently.
"By moving the sensors inside the mouth, we have created a Tongue Drive System with increased mechanical stability and comfort that is nearly unnoticeable," Maysam Ghovanloo, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.