Currently quadriplegics do not have a mobile, discreet method of finely controlling the technology used in their daily lives. We envision a tongue interface capable of controlling technology to enable more independent living. The tongue is one of the most sensitive and versatile muscles in the body, it is also concealed within the mouth. Though previous attempts of using the tongue as an interface for technology exist, none of them have succeeded in achieving a comfortable and lasting experience for the users while enabling control of multiple technologies.
Specifically for our project we wish to create a tongue interface for mouse control and juxtapose it with those of existing enabling technologies. By achieving a strong tongue interface we can extrapolate control in future iterations to motorized wheelchair control, exoskeletons to regain use of limbs, and remote control of robotic arms to aid in daily tasks. Moreover, the increased interconnectivity expected to take place with the smart homes of the future and the trend of Internet of Things will bring about new solutions in accessibility for people with disabilities, when paired with our interface.
How it works
For this challenge we developed a functional prototype of our idea. The way it works is quite simple: a computer mouse that can be easily controlled with the tongue. Using the trackpoint provided, the user can move the cursor around, and by pressing the 2 buttons he can do left click and right click. By enabling this functionality, our interface enables its user to perform any task that an able-bodied person can perform using a conventional computer mouse.
Challenges we ran into
- Taking old laptop parts and adapting them into a small, simple, and easy to use device.
- Creating the form of the device to be fit inside the mouth.
- Creating the interface to control the mouse with the device.
Accomplishments that we are proud of
- After many hours of hard work we were able to connect the device to the computer and use it as a mouse.
- We are able to create a form that, when connected to a mouth guard, it is able to stay fixed inside the mouth and be used to control the computer mouse.
What I learned
- The importance of good documentation in third party APIs that are meant to be used by others.
- How iteration is key to the success of a product.
- The importance of good team members to guarantee a great outcome.
What's next for Palette
- Making the device wireless.
- Improve the shape, form and texture of the device.