MouthPad lets users put their mousing where their mouth is
Over the years, we've heard about several experimental systems which would allow people to control computers or other devices via their mouth. One such tool should soon be commercially available, however, in the form of the MouthPad.
Manufactured by MIT spinoff company Augmental, the MouthPad is designed primarily for use by people who lack the use of their hands. That said, it's also aimed at multitaskers who are trying to perform one task with their hands while simultaneously controlling an electronic gadget.
The MouthPad has a 3D-printed waterproof dental resin body, inside of which is a microprocessor, battery, Bluetooth module, and a flexible circuit board with integrated pressure sensors.
Each unit is custom-made to fit the individual user, via a 3D scan of the inside of their mouth. Once in place, it covers their upper teeth and the roof their mouth. It can quickly and easily be taken out, and it reportedly does not affect their ability to speak clearly – the whole thing weighs about 7.5 grams (0.3 oz) and is approximately 0.7 mm thick.
The MouthPad works by sensing the position and pressure of the user's tongue, and converting that data into commands via a machine-learning algorithm. On a Bluetooth-linked smartphone, laptop or other device, the user is thus able to move and click a cursor, send and receive emails, play video games, or do pretty much anything else that would usually be done using a conventional mouse.
The device is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. A single two-hour charge of its battery is claimed to be good for over five hours of use.
Potential buyers can join the waitlist, via the company website. We're still waiting to hear back regarding pricing and availability.