NEWS

Amazing Fact: Now control devices with tongue

Researchers have developed a device that can be installed in a helmet and senses the wearer’s tongue pressure through the cheek to control their smartphones. “The tongue is a well-developed muscle capable of fine-grain movements — so we thought it should be good for control interactions,” said Japanese scientist Kai Kunze at Osaka Prefecture University. 

“My personal motivation here was skiing. I like to check factors like my speed while on the slope, yet it’s quite cumbersome to take out a smartphone and use a touchscreen in the cold,” he said. A helmet with the built-in device could allow motorcyclists and skiers to control their personal technology. 

The team strapped a pad with 64 pressure-sensing elements to the cheeks of six volunteers to mimic a sensor installed in a helmet. They asked them to try five tongue gestures: swipe up, swipe down, swipe left, swipe right and a pushy “click”, ‘New Scientist’ reported. In 300 attempts, recognition accuracy was 98%, according to the study results presented at the Augmented Human conference in Kobe, Japan, last month. 

Kunze is also working on putting the sensor in face masks worn to keep out flu, so people can control phones without touching them. 

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