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Team creates device that allows "listening" through tongue

Shared by Diogo Nunes on 2021-07-15 21:05

About the solution

John Williams, professor and engineer at Colorado State University, has spent much of his career designing electric propulsion systems for space travel and ended up being exposed to a lot of noise that damaged his cochlea, affecting its ability to listen to high frequencies. This diagnosis led Williams to become interested in cochlear implants and sensory substitution.

Therefore, with the collaboration of a Mechanical Engineering student at the university, J.J. Moritz, he created a device that allows people with hearing impairments to be able to "hear" through the tongue.

A microphone connected to a Bluetooth headset detects sound from your surroundings. These sounds are transmitted to a receiver that will convert them into distinct patterns that represent a word and, through electrical impulses, are sent to a retainer installed in the roof of the mouth. The user presses their tongue on this retainer to feel the distinct pattern. With training, the brain is able to "hear" or interpret these patterns and perceive what is being said around it.

Due to some difficulties with positioning the device, neuroscientist Stone-Roy joined the team. With her help, the team is being able to determine which parts of the tongue detect electrical impulses and whether they vary from person to person.

Story adapted from https://source.colostate.edu/words-mouth-csu-device-lets-hear-tongue/

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Engineer and professor, John Williams, during what he calls his "mid-life research crisis", came up with the idea of creating a device that allows people with hearing impairments to be able to understand what is being said to their around through the tongue.

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