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Georgia Tech's Tongue Drive wheelchair proves quicker than traditional breath controls

Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
November 29, 2013
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Georgia Tech researchers believed that tongue-controlled devices could help the disabled, and now they have solid proof. A new study shows that the school's wearable Tongue Drive System lets the paralyzed control wheelchairs three times faster than they would using an ordinary breath-based approach. The speediness is due to TDS' intuitive design, Georgia Tech says -- wearers use a magnetic piercing in their tongue as a joystick, which is both faster and more logical than puffing into a straw. It's subtler, too, as wearers don't block their faces with as much equipment. Trials have so far been limited to hospitals and labs, but the findings pave the way for real-world tests. Eventually, Georgia Tech hopes for widespread use that improves tetraplegics' mobility -- and gives them more control over their lives.

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