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Press Release 08-122
Tongue Drive Technology

Using only tongue motions, individuals with paralyzed limbs may be able to use new system to take control of technology

Photo of Maysam Ghovanloo (left) pointing to a small magnet attached to tongue of graduate student.

Maysam Ghovanloo (left) points to a small magnet attached to graduate student Xueliang Huo's tongue.
Credit and Larger Version

July 21, 2008
Researchers have developed an experimental tongue-based system that may allow individuals with debilitating disabilities to control wheelchairs, computers and other devices with relative ease and no sophistication.

Because the tongue is directly connected to the brain via cranial nerves, it usually remains mobile when other body parts lose function to disease or accidents. That mobility underlies the new system, which may one day provide greater flexibility and simplicity to individuals who would otherwise use sip-and-puff controls or brain implants.

Electrical engineer Maysam Ghovanloo developed the Tongue Drive system in collaboration with graduate student Xueliang Huo and presented the findings June 29 at the 2008 Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.

"Tongue Drive is inherently wireless and touch-free because it relies on a tiny magnetic tracer attached to the tongue with no power consumption," said Ghovanloo. "Tongue movements are also fast, accurate and do not require much thinking, concentration or effort."

Developed with funding from the National Science Foundation and additional support from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the technology is already showing speed and flexibility that rivals or surpasses other technologies.

For further details regarding the Tongue Drive, see the Georgia Tech press release at: http://gtresearchnews.gatech.edu/newsrelease/tongue-drive.htm.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Joshua A. Chamot, NSF, (703) 292-7730, jchamot@nsf.gov
Abby Vogel, Georgia Institute of Technology, (404) 385-3364, avogel@gatech.edu

Program Contacts
Ephraim P. Glinert, NSF, (703) 292-8930, eglinert@nsf.gov

Principal Investigators
Maysam Ghovanloo, Georgia Institute of Technology, (404) 385-7048, mgh@gatech.edu

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Photo of Xueliang Huo moving his tongue to direct the Tongue Drive System to move the wheelchair.
Xueliang Huo moves his tongue to direct the Tongue Drive system to move the powered wheelchair.
Credit and Larger Version



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