Friday, April 10, 2009

Tongue display helps recover balance problem

French researchers have invented a "tongue display" that can enable people suffering from balance problems recover their poise, or help those on wheelchairs avoid pressure sores.

Yohan Payan, a researcher at the TIMC lab near Grenoble, has revealed that the device is worn in the mouth like an orthodontic retainer.

He says that the device contains 36 electrodes that transmit electrical impulses to the tongue. "The sensation is a kind of 'ticklish' feeling, the idea is that if one of your senses is lacking, you try to use another sense to convey information," he added.

He says that it would take about 10 minutes for a person to learn to use the information from the display. The researcher has revealed that he and his colleagues wanted to aid people with affected perception of body movements and balance.

As to how the tongue display works, Payan says the device receives output form the movement sensors on a person's body to help the brain detect and correct stability and posture. Trials of the tongue display have shown promising results, he adds.

Telling about one experiment whose participants had become worse at balancing when their backs were tired, he revealed that the volunteers could compensate for difficulties when they felt foot pressure on their tongue too.

Is it not fantastic idea?

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