Dorothee Clasen, a master's student in design at the International School of Design in Cologne, came up with an unusual way to interact with a computer: a language controller.
Basically, the prototype device is a dental fixation device with a ball and a magnet attached to it, which slides along a set of braces, as Dezeen writes. The idea is simple: the wearer can move the ball back and forth in the game with his tongue.
A wire coming out of the wearer's mouth connects to a WiFi transmitter to send the information to a nearby computer.
In a demonstration, Clasen managed to play a boardgame, dubbed “Tong”, a “language” interpretation of the classic Atari Pong, as you can see in the clip above. .
Dorothee Clasen, the inventor of this device, says she was inspired by riding. “While riding one day, I was especially fascinated by the haptic communication between the rider's hand and the horse's mouth,” Clasen said. “Through siblings, man influences the horse's posture and at the same time must rely on tactile sense to check the horse's position,” she added.
“I wanted to create something similar, but for a man and a machine,” Dorothee added. To create this device, it was made with a fixing element perfectly fixed from a dental impression using polyethylene terephthalate glycol or PETG, a type of thermoplastic. And to make it safe as an oral device, Clasen used silicon instead of glue to attach all the electronic components. The electrical cables are also covered with a thin layer of silicon so as not to affect the wearer.
Dorothee says that developing and testing Tong was a unique challenge for her. “Building a portable device for an area of your body has been a bit difficult, but it's something that could one day help people who really need something,” she says.