You certainly must have seen it all when it comes to controlling objects without using your hands: from using vision to mind power. But be prepared, because many people will want to have a piercing after this news. Soon, you will be able to control a mouse or computer, access the internet or even a wheelchair with just your language!
To enable control by the labial muscle, the patient will need to have his teeth modified with magnetic field sensors, strategically placed in four corners of the dental arch and connected to a tiny hand positioned on the user’s tongue (like a piercing). The signals from the sensors are transmitted to a custom software for iPhone or iPad that identifies the user’s commands. In this way, the system can interpret up to seven different types of movement to then send the controls that will drive a wheelchair or browse the internet, for example.
To test the system, the team of scientists carried out experiments on 11 people with severe spinal injuries, each with their respective “tongue piercing”, and the results have been positive.
“Users are able to learn to use the mechanism to move the computer’s cursor faster and more accurately, in addition to avoiding obstacles on the track with greater agility and less collisions [ao usarem uma cadeira de rodas motorizada]”, declared Maysam Ghovanloo, an engineer at the Instituto de Tecnologia da Gergia.
The next step for other research groups is to use the tongue wave in brain waves to control robotic arms and automotive vehicles.
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