Tongue Drive System Controls Wheelchair: Don’t Chew Gum and Drive
Most of us can get around just fine on our two feet, but those who are confined to wheelchairs can have a hard time getting around. Those who are paralyzed often need someone to push them, if they do not have the motor function to do it themselves. There is a new device that could help those in wheelchairs get around on their own much more efficiently.
Developed by engineers at Georgia Tech, the Tongue Drive System that lets the user control the chair with a dental retainer. Sensors are embedded inside the retainer that track the movement of a small magnet that is attached to the tongue using a tiny tongue piercing. Move your tongue and the chair moves.
The device is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and uses magnetic field sensors on four corners of the device to track the magnet’s position. The sensors then send the info to an iOS device which runs software which can control a cursor on a computer screen or turn it into a joystick for a wheelchair. They just have to work on better accuracy right now and once they get it, this will be an amazing tool for the disabled.