Augmental, a spin-off of the MIT Media Lab, has developed the MouthPad, a Bluetooth-powered mouthpiece that lets anyone control electronic appliances with their tongue.
The device has a touch-sensitive panel against the roof of the user’s mouth, allowing them to navigate interfaces using their tongue as a finger to move cursors and perform tasks. The MouthPad is designed to fit onto the user’s palate, with a surface that responds to touch. The electronics are enclosed within a 3D-printed brace made from dental-grade resin, with a battery unit and SoC located on the side. The MouthPad is designed to mitigate the effects of saliva-coated tongues, using machine-learning to accurately register input.
The device is aimed at people with limited mobility, particularly those who have suffered spinal injuries, allowing them to control devices with ease. The MouthPad is discrete and nuanced compared to current devices like the QuadStick, which uses a joystick that users bite down on to control.
The MouthPad has been tested on people with limited mobility and quadriplegia with great success and a positive response. The device can also be used in ‘hands-busy’ scenarios such as surgeons, gamers, astronauts, lab technicians, and factory-line workers.
The MouthPad is currently available to potential buyers in the US who can sign up to be on the waitlist. With its sleek design and 3D-printed components, the MouthPad is an example of how 3D printing can be used to create bespoke devices to empower individuals with specific needs.
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