Tongue Drive, a wireless device, enables people with high-level spinal cord injuries to manoeuvre an electrically powered wheelchair simply by moving their tongues.
The newest prototype of the system allows users to wear an unnoticeable dental retainer embedded with sensors to control the system. The sensors track the location of a tiny magnet attached to the tongues of users. In earlier versions of the Tongue Drive System, the sensors that track the movement of the magnet on the tongue were mounted on a headset worn by the user.
"By moving the sensors inside the mouth, we have created a Tongue Drive System with increased mechanical stability and comfort that is nearly unnoticeable," said Maysam Ghovanloo, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
The new intraoral Tongue Drive System was presented and demonstrated at the IEEE International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. Development of the system is supported by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.