Imagine scrolling through your computer screen or smartphone with your tongue.
Don’t worry, no one’s asking you to lick your iPhone, Android or laptop. Rather, a piece of technology introduced at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show may redefine hands-free navigation using the tongue without direct contact to your device.
Augmental Tech’s new “MouthPad” is a device you wear inside your mouth to help make technology more accessible to all people.
“We believe people deserve universal digital access to devices that have become so ingrained in our daily lives,” according to the company’s mission statement. “That’s why we’re committed to pushing the boundaries of how we interact with technology by building intuitive products that empower everyone to unleash their creativity.”
How does MouthPad work? Think of it as a high-tech retainer. It sits on the roof of the user’s mouth and connects to devices via a Bluetooth connection and runs on a rechargeable battery.
Once the MouthPad is in place, the wearer can use the tongue on the device like a touch pad to control the cursor on connected devices. Or, the user can choose to have head movements control cursor movement.
Augmental Tech software engineer Corbin Halliwill told NBC News the idea for the MouthPad came to him and co-founders Corten Singer and Tomás Vega wanted to create something for paralyzed friends and family to connect seamlessly with technology.
“A lot of things come close, but they always fall short,” Halliwell said. Size and portability have been the biggest obstacles to overcome for differently-abled populations, he added.
Following Augmental Tech’s appearance at the 2024 CES, the company announced on social media that it was already back at work preparing to ship out MouthPads to users next week.
Back from CES and straight to making MouthPads^. Onboarding the next batch of users next week!
— Augmental (@augmentaltech) January 13, 2024
The developmental team for MouthPad said the device is safe to wear for talking and drinking, but users should remove it before eating.
The current MouthPad prototype costs about $1,000, and there is a waitlist to purchase one. Customers can go online to join the waitlist and then get notified about getting fitted for their new MouthPad.