In the past century Medicine tried and succeeded to relate and incorporate high tech products into every day life, giving the disability patients better life quality.
The usual ideas to help the people with the disability to move in the Wheelchair where:
Head Tracking System, Hand Gesture Based movement control (for those not paralyzed from the neck down), Eye Based Control, Wireless Asstive techniques, Robotic Wheel Chairs, Voice Based Activated Movement control , Voice operated Wheelchair, Head and Finger Movement Wheelchairs, gesture Based Wheelchairs, Remote Controlled Wheelchair , and many others.
Sometimes, the ideas are quite unique, just like the one we are going to explain.
We have heard about 3D printed hearts, ears, artificial organs, but this is an opportunity to give disabled people more convenient and undependable every life.
So what is it so surprising and a little bit unusual?
Magnetic tongue piercing that are used as a miniature joystick! The product is yet in the experimental phase, but the results are promising.
Revolutionary idea comes from staff at the Georgia Institute of Technology. They use magnetic tongue piercing to communicate through WI-FI with devices – computer or a wheelchair. Before this invention, the sip-and-puff control system has been used, so when blowing into a straw made the disabled people move.
The testing group of people is very satisfied with the idea. All of them are paralyzed from the neck down, and this solution provides them much more comfortable and self confidence.
Only 11 people were involved in this study, but all of them preferred this type of movement control instead of others. The project is still in experimental phase, but its showing promising results.
Of course, the bigger studies are needed to prove the reliability and make the product to be ready for market sale and usage.
Comments after placing this high tech piercing are all positive, as it is less invasive and more adjustable, as tongue movements do not require special focusing, and the tongue does not get so easily fatigued.
All credits for creating this product goes to biomedical engineer Maysam Ghovanloo.
Some of the paralyzed patients have refused to participate in the study.
It is obvious that Medicine and Technology are closely incorporating new high tech products into every day life. In the future, more and more products are expected to be available on the market. The predictable burden is money investment into this area, as it is expensive, long term, and requires an excellent collaboration between medical staff and technical engineers. Ideas are more and more innovative, and that’s what makes us positive about the future.
The ultimate answer lies of course in stem cell research for paralyzed people, and spinal recovery at the full, but it needs a year from now on to make this experiment work on people. As for now, only rats had the used this technology, that have made them recover the injured spinal cord and walk again.
Until the stem cell treating is fully available, the tongue pierced control seems to be the most unique idea in the field, and most acceptable one.