Our tireless tongue already controls speech, helps to identify the taste, kiss and swallow and fights germs, etc. Now scientists hope to add one more talkative muscle power and turn it into an advanced control panel.
Engineers Institute Georgia Tech believe that a special magnet system driven by the language, may one day make a paralyzed man’s mouth into a virtual computer, teeth into a keyboard, and the language - a key that controls it all.
System developed by scientists (Tongue Drive System) converts the language into a kind of joystick, allowing people to control wheelchairs, computers and household appliances. Of course, much more is to improve and revise, but preliminary tests have been very promising.
This system is highly differentiated alternative to the few methods of control devices that are available for hundreds of thousands of people paralyzed from the neck down to the tips of my toes.
One of the most popular, for example, the method of "sip and puff", which allows a person to give commands by inhaling and exhaling into a tube. But, unfortunately, provides the user with only four different commands, limiting the choice of the person.
It is also widely distributed control systems that use sophisticated sensors capable of detecting the movement of the head and neck, but the use of such hardware can be tiring, and extremely uncomfortable in the management of electronics such as computers.
Language is the most flexible, sensitive and tireless option. And like other facial muscles, its functions tend to persist in accidents that can paralyze most of the rest of the body, as tongue attached to the brain and the spinal cord did not.
Company newAbilities Systems Inc has designed a keyboard with nine buttons are placed in the sky to control electronics. However, the head of the current study Macy Dzhovanloo (Maysam Ghovanloo) decided to focus on creating a virtual keyboard instead of a physical one. The keyboard will work with the magnet about 3 millimeters wide, placed under the tip of his tongue.
The movement of the magnet is monitored sensors mounted on each cheek, and sends data to a receiver on a rather bulky device resembling a helmet. The data is then processed by a special program that converts the movement into commands for a wheelchair or other electronics.
After turning the system the user is asked to install six commands: left, right, forward, backward, single and double-click. It was pretty fun to watch a graduate student, testing technology, which traveled to the laboratory in a wheelchair, actively plying his tongue.
Demonstration test was quite impressive, and Dzhovanloo said he hopes to add some improvements that will make your teeth into a keyboard, and cheeks - in control panels. For example, one of the left upper teeth could turn on the lights, and one of the lower right - turn off the TV.
The team has already received a grant of $ 120,000 from the National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation) and $ 150,000 from the Foundation Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.
But there is still much work. Researchers need to reduce the size of the helmet and the magnet, improve the software, and extend the battery life.
But the most important task is the need to "fit" the cost of the device are determined by the value of "sip and puff" system (several hundred dollars) and a more complex system of tracking eye movement (several thousands of American money). Attention, download news ticker and learn everything first.