Dec 2, 2013

Body piercing controls wheelchair

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering, robotics/AI

Tongue piercing

Body piercings have been used to control wheelchairs and computers in a move scientists believe could transform the way people interact with the world after paralysis.

The movement of a tiny magnet in a tongue piercing is detected by sensors and converted into commands, which can control a range of devices.

The US team said it was harnessing the tongue’s “amazing” deftness.

The development is reported in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The team at the Georgia Institute of Technology made the unlikely leap from body art to wheelchairs because the tongue is so spectacularly supple.

A large section of the brain is dedicated to controlling the tongue because of its role in speech. It is also unaffected by spinal cord injuries that can render the rest of the body paralysed, tetraplegic, as it has its own hotline to the brain.

“We are tapping in to the inherent capabilities of the tongue, it is such an amazing part of the body,” Dr Maysam Ghovanloo told the BBC.

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