Maysam Ghovanloo of Georgia Tech and colleagues are working on a new type of "keyboard" for the disabled: the human tongue!
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.