Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Health & Fitness
  3. Healthcare

Tongue piercings help wheelchair users be independent

See also

Imagine being able to control a motorized wheelchair just by a flick of a tongue. Tongue piercings are no longer a fashion statement. They are a mode of independence.

Engineer Maysam Ghovanloo of the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta wanted to develop a better system. The process started five years ago with himself and colleagues. They eventually created a tongue piercing that allowed control of a computer and wheelchair.

For testing, they took people without disabilities and those with. Training and learning the system was apparently very easy. It took no time to learn how to move a cursor around the screen. After learning the computer, they moved on to the wheelchair.

Through the piercing, there is a chip that goes to an iPod or smartphone. The iPod or smartphone then connects to a computer to signal the wheelchair to move. The process sounds long but happens quickly.

They discovered that wheelchair users could drive five times faster than the standard sip and puff systems. The sip and puff systems control the chair by puffing in and out through a straw. People do not usually like the system because of it being right in their face. They want them to see the them and not technology.

More money is needed to go into the development. Hopefully, soon, quadriplegics and tetraplegics will be using the system.



  • Derek Hough
    Derek Hough brings quadruple threat talent to 'DWTS' and beyond
    Today's Buzz
  • Hookah smoking
    Young adults believe hookah smoking pose no health threat
    7 Photos
  • Top outdoor activities
    Don't spend your summer indoors: Top outdoor activities to do with your significant other
    10 Photos
  • Baby shower idea for men
    A new twist on baby showers is throwing a Daddy Baby-Q
    7 Photos
  • Wedding special
    'Curvy Brides' offers a new look into every bride's pursuit for her picture perfect wedding gown
    7 Photos
  • Morbid obesity
    Health: Morbid obesity decreases life span by up to 16 years
    7 Photos