Tongue-assisted technology is developed

Aug. 4, 2008 at 1:17 PM
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ATLANTA, Aug. 4 (UPI) -- U.S. engineers said they've developed a tongue-assisted technology to help individuals with severe disabilities lead more independent lives.

The system allows individuals with disabilities to operate a computer, control a powered wheelchair and interact with their environments simply by moving their tongues.

"This device could revolutionize the field of assistive technologies by helping individuals with severe disabilities, such as those with high-level spinal cord injuries, return to rich, active, independent and productive lives," said Maysam Ghovanloo, an assistant professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

The research team is also developing software to connect the tongue-operated assistive technology with a wide variety of communication tools, such as text generators, speech synthesizers and readers.

"We hope this technology will reduce the need of individuals with severe disabilities to receive continuous assistance from family members or caregivers, thus significantly reducing healthcare and assistance costs," said Ghovanloo. "This system may also make it easier for them to work and communicate with others, such as friends and family."

The research that included Georgia Tech graduate student Xueliang Huo is to be reported in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.

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