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Browsing through the internet with a mouse in the mouth, or life on the tip of the tongue

07.07.2006
At the “IT Business” contest in June this year in Moscow, the first place was awarded to the project under the title “Return to Active Life” represented by the Moscow company Gravitonus' Gt. Its authors do not certainly promise to set on the legs the people, whose body is, alas, motionless. But they give them an opportunity to actively use a PC. For those persons whose hands do not obey to commands of the brain this is still the only chance to play PC games, browse through the Internet, communicate in the chat and even to work. Alexy Kosik, practicing orthopaedist surgeon, and his colleagues designed, patented and learned to produce the device to be placed in the mouth to allow controlling the PC with the help of the tongue and the teeth.

“Certainly, attempts were made before us to make something similar to this device in terms of purpose, but not execution, says Alexy Kosik. However, when designers faced technical problems, they receded. Among other things, the problem was that they failed to develop a universal device, not an individual one. So that it would not be necessary to make it specially for each customer, like dentures or brackets – otherwise it would immediately make the concept difficult to accomplish and expensive, as this option of the device cannot be available for the masses. Nobody succeeded in making the device in such a way that anybody who needs it could buy it, unpack and use at once. But we have succeeded. However, not at all straight away – the entire way from the concept through the finished device took us about five years to complete.”

So, if we put aside strictly technical and patent components of the know-how area, the device is a combination of a keyboard of 19 keys and a joystick, which are placed on the upper palate and connected to the PC. That is why the PC does not need additional drivers – the PC recognizes the new device itself and immediately enables its use.

To make the device reliably fastened, there are universal mechanical holders on the upper teeth and a plate made of special material with “shape memory”. It is sufficient to apply it to the palate surface and to press it strongly, and it would turn from faceless plastic for everybody into a sole, irreproachably individual one. So, there is no need to make a cast and to mould an individual variant – simply buy and use it. By the way, it is absolutely safe – the device voltage is only 0.2 Vt, so, even if the wiring is accidentally bitten through, there will be no harm caused.

The joystick should be moved and the keys should be hit by the tongue. Of course, the user will have to learn for about ten minutes first, but everybody ultimately manages to do that. The person does not see the keyboard, so the user will have to keep in mind the keys’ layout and their functions.

The user assigns the functions to the keys himself, in a convenient way. The Russian alphabet does not “fit into” the keyboard yet, but the English one does. Besides, it is possible to use two keys to introduce the third function – like in ordinary Windows. There are two “hard” keys – they are controlled by pressing on them by the teeth. These are the “right” and the “left” keys of the “mouse”. Therefore, there are practically no limitations – both the mouse and the keyboard are available. The user can even play any PC games, including the most complicated ones like flight simulators.

The system has an additional capability. If it is combined with the “smart house”-type system, then the same keys would turn on the air-conditioner, light and heating, open/close the door and so on – there are a lot of options here. To this end, appropriate drivers will be certainly needed – but this is no problem.

The problem is of a different kind. For the time being, these devices exist in the amount of several pieces - mass production has not started yet. At the contest, the authors were awarded the first place for the business-case of such production, so the matter is quite feasible and even, seemingly, advantageous to all. Hopefully, this way will be passed through and would not take too long. Let us wish good luck to the authors and users.

Nadezda Markina | alfa
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru

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