Dental retainers allow wheelchair, computer control

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Wheelchairs used to be a simple device with no electronics attached to it. But as developers began to reinvent this contraption it became a modern and high tech solution for individuals with disabilities.

For people with ALS or spinal cord injuries, they heavily rely on the sip-and-puff technology to operate their wheelchairs. Now, with the creation of a prototype dental retainer (on the similar basis of advanced braces in NYC), those days of sipping and puffing might be long gone, which is another revolutionary step since the smart wheelchairs have been designed (check the cost of a KD Smart Chair already now).

Developers at Georgia Institute of Technology created a small retainer that fits at the roof of the mouth. This system tracks the movement of a tiny magnet on the mouth of the user. All the user has to do is point his or her tongue towards the direction he or she chooses to go and the machine will do as he or she pleases.

According to Maysam Ghovanloo, associate proffer in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, “By moving sensors inside the mouth, we have created a Tongue Drive System with increased mechanical stability and comfort that is nearly unnoticeable. Time for dental practice to evolve.”

The device transmits the output signals from the sensor to an iPhone or iPod installed with the software to interpret the tongue commands.

This sounds like a great development for science.

Image Credit: Maysam Ghovanloo