Building an Accessible Tongue-Controlled Mouse

It’s an unfortunate fact that many disabilities make it impossible to perform common tasks that most people take for granted. Thankfully, technology can provide at least some relief. Wheelchairs, for example, were invented because people losing the ability to walk is a common problem. The sad truth, though, is that there needs to be a big enough demand for traditional medical companies to invest in that development. The maker community, on the other hand, has no such restrictions, and The Bit is a wonderful tongue-controlled mouse for accessible computing.

The Bit addresses a somewhat niche need for a computer mouse that can be controlled with the tongue. It’s intended to make it possible for people who are quadriplegic — or simply have limited mobility — to use a computer. There are a couple of similar solutions on the market, but apparently that market is too small to make them affordable. Only a couple of options came up in my research, and the cheapest was still $400. The Bit is, potentially, far less expensive, and seems like it would work better to boot.

The device itself resembles a cross between a pacifier and a sports mouth guard, and is designed to be placed against the roof of the mouth. Lightly biting The Bit turns it on, and a hard bite clicks the mouse. It doesn’t seem to be working yet, but the plan is to use an optical sensor to move the mouse pointer. Those sensors connect to a Teensy 3.1 dev board, which then emulates a USB HID mouse when it’s connected to a computer. The Bit is still early in development, but it will hopefully provide an affordable and accessible mouse option.

Building an Accessible Tongue-Controlled Mouse was originally published in Hackster Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Original article: Building an Accessible Tongue-Controlled Mouse
Author: Cameron Coward