The new Smart Mouthguard allows those individuals who struggle with hand coordination the ability to easily control devices such as computers, remotes, smartphones and wheelchairs. All it takes is a bite.
A first-of-its-kind bite-controlled electronic device, this mouthguard translates bite patterns into instructions to control various electronic gadgets.
Bite-Based Assistive Technology
Assistive technologies like voice recognition, eye tracking and brain-computer interfaces have been developed to help individuals with limited dexterity or neurological disorders. But they can have limitations linked to interference from the environment, the accuracy of control, cost and maintenance.
Created by Professor Liu Xiaogang and his team in the chemistry department at the National University of Singapore Faculty of Science, this mouthguard contains pressure sensors to detect various biting and chewing patterns.
These patterns are then translated into data inputs with 98% accuracy, and can be used to control devices that could be difficult for those with disabilities like computers, smartphones and wheelchairs.
Bite force is a promising area for technology–and dental occlusion offers high-precision control and requires minimal skill.
Mouthguard of the Future
When wearing the mouthguard, biting causes a series of contact pads to emit light in different colors and intensities. That can then be measured and processed using machine learning. And the data collected is used for high-accuracy control and operating various electronic devices.
The mouthguard only weighs about seven grams. And it requires less training experience than most assistive technologies.
This mouthguard is designed for well-aligned teeth, but more mouthguards can be easily produced for different kinds of teeth. Each mouthguard costs $70 to create, and the team expects the cost to go down when mass produced.
The research team has filed the patent for this device and is exploring options to make it become a reality for those who need it. The team’s technological breakthrough was published in the journal Nature Electronics.