Those who have read the first post on the new technology would be excited to know how the system would be working? Will it be convenient enough to have an implant done on the tongue and mouth at all?
For this Tongue Driven Device to work, the users need to get their tongue pierced with a magnetic stud just like an ornament which acts like a joystick, a high-tech dental retainer is placed against the hard palate of the mouth, sensors or magnetic field indicators are implanted onto the device and are mounted on both upper and lower corners of the mouth, helping in detecting the location or movement of the magnetic stud. The device is powered by a lithium-ion battery and to recharge it, an induction coil is used. The team has used a water-resistant material to protect sensors from saliva and other liquid that passes through the mouth. Care is also taken by the team to avoid any feeling of discomfort by the users wearing the dental device, for this they shaped the implants from dental impressions to fit perfectly to the person’s teeth. Clips are included in the system to help hold them in place. When users move the magnetic tongue the magnetic field around their mouth is alerted. Changes in the magnetic field are picked up by four small sensors on the headset, which relays information wirelessly to an iPod carried by the user, the iPod detects the users tongue commands, and sends them to target devices, may be a powered wheelchair or even a computer,” Yes, even a computer” where the user can move a cursor just by moving his or her tongue. Of course, the patients willing to accept this technology would take a while to get adjusted to the implants as they are fixed to our sensitive parts.
Still, according to the reports, the younger community of patients are willing to try this method to get adapted to the fast-moving world and enjoy much freedom staying much more accurate in their jobs, the researchers are also into building software to connect this Tongue Drive System to an extensive variety of communication tools. Like text generators, speech synthesizers and readers.
More on the functions of Tongue Operated Device:
The new assistive device which functions on the signals received from a small magnet that’s the size of a grain of rice attached to an individual’s tongue by tissue adhesive permits the person to move around a room directing or controlling the user’s powered wheelchair or work on a computer moving the cursor. The team claims the tongue moves faster with much accuracy and does not require much thinking, effort or concentration.
An iPod touch or iPhone are used to wirelessly transmit the collected signals from a sensor to a headset. An installed software on the Apple device helps in locating the location of the magnate studded tongue with the sensors as they are arranged. This software is also capable of interpreting the commands from a user. All the signals from the sensors are used as a substitute to a joystick function in an electric wheelchair. An Intra-oral high-tech appliance has been created by the team which is a universal interface that connects to a standard battery-powered wheelchair. The below mentioned are the functions of the interface.
- Holding the apple device used (iPhone or iPod touch).
- Signals and data are received and transmitted wirelessly to the Apple device.
- Dental retainers are charged.
- It features a special container which helps to hold the retainer in place letting the user leave the device for charging overnight.
For now, the Tongue Drive System is yet to complete testing on people with spinal cord injuries. The team is planning to test their invention on able bodied persons to evaluate its usability which can help the team for the product’s further improvement.
With this technology the patients are expected to attain their desired accuracy in their activities much faster compared to the systems they were using so far. This technology could reduce the disabled from taking continuous assistance from caregivers, and family members also reducing their health care costs making their life much easier.
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