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Tongue Drive system lets persons with disabilities operate powered wheelchairs, computers
Date:6/29/2008

h Carolina State University. "Tongue movements are also fast, accurate and do not require much thinking, concentration or effort."

Movement of the magnetic tracer attached to the tongue is detected by an array of magnetic field sensors mounted on a headset outside the mouth or on an orthodontic brace inside the mouth. The sensor output signals are wirelessly transmitted to a portable computer, which can be carried on the user's clothing or wheelchair.

The sensor output signals are processed to determine the relative motion of the magnet with respect to the array of sensors in real-time. This information is then used to control the movements of a cursor on the computer screen or to substitute for the joystick function in a powered wheelchair.

The system can potentially capture a large number of tongue movements, each of which can represent a different user command. A unique set of specific tongue movements can be tailored for each individual based on the user's abilities, oral anatomy, personal preferences and lifestyle.

"An individual could potentially train our system to recognize touching each tooth as a different command," explained Ghovanloo. "The ability to train our system with as many commands as an individual can comfortably remember is a significant advantage over the common sip-n-puff device that acts as a simple switch controlled by sucking or blowing through a straw."

The Tongue Drive system is also non-invasive and does not require brain surgery like some of the brain-computer interface technologies.

Ghovanloo's group recently completed trials in which six able-bodied individuals tested the Tongue Drive system. Each participant defined six tongue commands that would substitute for computer mouse tasks left, right, up and down pointer movements and single- and double-click. For each trial, the individual began by training the system. During the five-minute training session, the individual repeate
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Contact: Abby Vogel
avogel@gatech.edu
404-385-3364
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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