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 Tongue Control Advancing Brain Interfaces

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Date posted: 30/11/2008

Tongue controllers are back in the news again, after research presented at the Society of Neurosciences conference in Washington, DC last week demonstrated that electrical stimulation of the tongue could serve as a secondary feedback to visual stimuli for BMI implantees.

last week, the researchers showed that volunteers can control the movement of a cursor on a computer screen using electrical stimulation to the tongue just as well as they can control it using visual feedback.

"The tongue device opens new ways for devices to interact with the brain and the body in a collaborative way," says Gerwin Schalk, a research scientist at the Wadsworth Center in Albany, NY, who was not involved in the research. "If we have more ways of providing feedback, it would enhance performance."

The tongue stimulator consists of a thin-film array of 144 electrodes--it's a bit larger than a quarter--that sits on the surface of the tongue. A stimulator delivers electrical signals based on visual information--in this case, the movement of a dot on a computer screen. "It acts like a low-resolution monitor with a 12-by-12 array of pixels," says Williams. A similar device is already in use for people with balance disorders--tongue stimulation tells the user whether her head is upright--and is also being tested as a visual aid for the blind.

See the full Story via external site: www.technologyreview.com

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