A human tongue as a Joystick
The Human Tongue as Computer Control Pad
Greg Bluestein, Associated Press
Aug. 25, 2008 -- The tireless tongue already controls taste and speech, helps kiss and swallow and fights germs. Now scientists hope to add one more ability to the mouthy muscle, and turn it into a computer control pad.
Georgia Tech researchers believe a magnetic, tongue-powered system could transform a disabled person's mouth into a virtual computer, teeth into a keyboard -- and tongue into the key that manipulates it all.
"You could have full control over your environment by just being able to move your tongue," said Maysam Ghovanloo, a Georgia Tech assistant professor who leads the team's research.
The group's Tongue Drive System turns the tongue into a joystick of sorts, allowing the disabled to manipulate wheelchairs, manage home appliances and control computers. The work still has a ways to go -- one potential user called the design "grotesque" -- but early tests are encouraging.
The system is far from the first that seeks a new way to control electronics through facial movements. But disabled advocates have particularly high hopes that the tongue could prove the most effective.
Read more about the tongue as a joystick on Discovery.com