The Designer Dorothee Clasen, who has just created an intra-oral wearable device, has called it (in)brace, as part of her master’s thesis in integrated design. The device enables tongue-based interaction between humans and machines.
When placed in the mouth, much the same way as an orthodontic appliance, users of orthotics can move a small magnetic piece with their tongue to generate input. An internet module behind the user’s ear then transfers the input to other connected devices.
For her project, Dorothee Clasen decided to shift the focus away from the hands and fingertips to the haptic interfaces that allow humans to interact through contact with objects. Instead, she decided to focus on another part of the body – the mouth.
Clasen’s final prototype is based on an electromagnetic principle, DesignBoom reports. The integrated reed sensors detect the location of the magnetic spherical element, which the user controls using their tongue, although the location of the sensors must be adapted for different mouths.
The device was designed with an alternate retention architecture at the palate to allow the implementation of the sensors – by silicone bonding – and adaptation if necessary.
Making computer devices more accessible.
Clasen tested her final prototype by setting up a classic game of “tong”, which she managed to control using the device.
Clasen proposed that [in] brace could be used in physiotherapy to help patients retrain their tongue movement. It could also be used for specific jobs or performance where a user’s eyes, feet, and hands are already taped by other tasks.
For example, a pianist can flip his digital note sheets using his language while playing a piece. The device could, of course, also be used for people with poor fine motor skills in their hands or fingers, in order to make computing devices more accessible around the world.
Much like brain-computer interfaces, such devices could revolutionize the way we interact with the digital world.