Those of you who are able bodied and can move freely about, here is food for thought – how would you feel if you were bound to a wheelchair all day long? Yes, it is a whole lot harder to get around, even more so in countries where facilities for the disabled are poorly implemented or are non-existent. For the paralyzed, you will need someone to wheel you along, but here is a new device that might result in some sense of independence – the Tongue Drive System which will enable the user to rely on a dental retainer in order to operate the wheelchair, moving in the direction of the user. All the relevant sensors are embedded within the retainer in order to track the movements of a small magnet that is attached to the tongue.
Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, this retainer will utilize magnetic field sensors on the four corners of the device in order to track the magnet’s movements. The sensors will transmit their information to an iDevice, where customized software allows the mobile device to control the movements of a cursor on a computer screen, or even to fill in the “vacancy” of a joystick. It is interesting to note that the Tongue Drive System has been developed to play nice with any standard electric wheelchair, and with further research being made into this particular system, you can expect a greater degree of accuracy down the road.