Tongue-Operated Scrolling Device that is a Mouse for Your Mouth

Tongue-Operated Scrolling Device that is a Mouse for Your Mouth
Tongue-Operated Scrolling Device that is a Mouse for Your Mouth

MouthPad, a device that attaches to the roof of the mouth, was unveiled at CES and is set to be released to the public later this year.

Earlier it was keyboard and mouse and then came the touchscreen and voice. We are constantly innovating with the way we interact with our devices. One of the most inevitable next stages is where we can operate our devices without even touching them.

It has been predicted by most of the industry experts and is gradually happening in many different forms.

Touchscreens are becoming hands-free thanks to a new gadget enabling users to navigate smartphones solely with their tongues. As weird as it may sound, it is one of the many ways the technology is evolving.

MouthPad, resembling a retainer with a trackpad chip, is designed to rest on the roof of the mouth and was showcased at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show. It detects tongue movements, empowering users to scroll, type, initiate calls, and even engage in activities like chess with a simple swipe or click of the tongue.

Describing it as “a mouse for your mouth,” Corbin Halliwill, a software engineer at Augmental, the device’s creator, highlighted its capabilities.

Augmental devised MouthPad^ as a supportive tool for individuals living with disabilities, particularly those facing hand impairments or paralysis. It seamlessly connects to any tablet, phone, or computer via Bluetooth.

Halliwill, alongside the company’s co-founders, Corten Singer and Tomás Vega, conceived the device after witnessing the struggles of paralyzed friends and family in finding suitable technology.

“Existing options often fall short,” he remarked, noting their bulkiness or lack of portability. Competitors like Tecla offer various switch types, while apps like Open Sesame track head motions on smartphones rather than relying on touchscreens.

Moreover, MouthPad has garnered interest beyond its intended market. Professionals requiring extensive hand usage, such as mechanics or surgeons, have expressed curiosity. Even astronauts have expressed interest in trialing the device aboard the International Space Station.

Augmental has honed its working prototype over two years, focusing on controls and filters to ensure functionality, even in the presence of saliva or water. The product is slated for release later this year, with early access available on their website.

During the past six months, users, including a college freshman majoring in mechanical engineering, have tested the product. She utilizes MouthPad as her primary input device for her computer and phone, even tackling math problems with it.

The device features a clear design around the teeth, with a golden touchpad at its center for tongue interaction. Additionally, a force sensor facilitates left and right clicks or can be mapped to other hotkey options. A small bump houses the Bluetooth antenna and wireless charging battery.

While Augmental advises against wearing it during meals, it is safe for drinking. Halliwill even wears it while sipping water and coffee in the office.

Augmental aims to enhance the technology further in the near future, potentially integrating voice and wheelchair control. They also aspire to extend the battery life from five to eight hours in the next version.

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