Spinal cord injuries are just about the scariest injury that a person could ever get; you can be left paralyzed. Being paralyzed must make your body feel trapped within your mind. Imagine not being able to move certain parts of your body, or not being able to control your entire body! Nearly 250,000 Americans suffer from spinal cord injuries, and there are about 10,000 new spinal cord injuries each year. Many others suffer from some sort of paralysis in addition to other diseases and conditions. These people need to gain their lives back. Luckily, there is some enlightening hope for those who may be affected by the inability to move.
There is a new wheelchair that is controlled through a piercing of the tongue. Yes, it’s true. People with motor disabilities may be helped with a tongue pierce. There is new technology, titled the Tongue Drive System, which literally entails, driving a wheelchair system with movements of your tongue!
So how does this technological breakthrough work? Although it may look, and seem just like an average tongue piercing, it is quite different. A magnetic tracer can be implanted in your tongue through a piercing or something less noticeable. How big is this magnetic tracer? Well, the real question should be how small is this magnetic tracer; it is as small as a grain of rice! So, if you’re physically disabled, and you aren’t really the punk-rock piercing-type, your rice-grain-sized magnetic operating device can simply be implanted in your tongue; therefore, essentially unnoticed.
When your tongue moves with the implanted magnetic operating device, sensors that are on a headset or brace, sends a signal to a computer on the wheelchair, which detects it. Basically, the tongue-like piercing will replace the traditionally used joystick; which may not have been simple enough to use for those who are physically handicapped. The tongue was chosen as the key to operation because the tongue is easy to move and doesn’t require much thinking power. Furthermore, the tongue is directly controlled by the brain, which usually doesn’t get damaged, even in extreme injuries such as of the spinal cord.
So was this tongue driven system tested? Yes it was and it came back with beyond amazing results. Statistically speaking, it displayed nearly 100% accuracy regarding movements. However, this system was tested on people who were not severely disabled. The next step for the tongue driven wheelchair system is to test out those who face extreme immobility.
Having a wheelchair that is operated completely through oneself will allow physically handicapped people to gain a sense of independence and belonging. Their brains are still functional, even if their bodies are not. Everyone who faces extreme physical handicaps should look into this wheel chair, as it seems like it can have life-changing capabilities. Hey, the tongue piercing seems pretty cool don't ya think?