Current methods of device control include joysticks, which involve using one or both hands, external microphones that are cumbersome and pick up ambient noise, and external arrays that are also cumbersome and can restrict a user’s movement. Additionally, the external microphone and array options do not provide a high level of accuracy in certain situations.

Using sound waves captured in the inner ear, this technology creates an enhanced method of device control. Sound waves are generated in the inner ear either by talking or by making tongue movements. The technology captures these sound waves, and then converts them into control signals for various devices. This creates a very accurate and hands-free method of controlling devices such as military robots, medical equipment, wheelchairs, computers, cell phones, and gaming controllers. The earpiece, which captures sound waves in the inner ear, is very small and unobtrusive. The process used to convert the waves to control signals is robust, allowing the user to make both sub-audible voice and tongue commands.

The earpiece connects wirelessly to a controller, which can be a PDA. This eliminates cumbersome input devices such as external microphones, arrays that capture head movement, or devices inserted into the mouth. By capturing sound waves in the inner ear and by using powerful transfer functions, virtually all ambient noise is canceled. This creates clear and consistent signals. The ability to detect sub-audible voice and tongue sound waves makes the technology very valuable when a quiet environment is required.

Pattern recognition techniques enhance relevant signals, providing very accurate output. Additionally, a user can conduct normal conversations while using the system. The earpiece can include a speaker, which allows the user to receive sound feedback from the device being controlled. The technology can capture sound waves for communications purposes.

Additionally, the user can conduct normal conversations while using the system.

This technology is offered by Think-a-Move. For more information, view the TechPak at

Medical Design Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the March, 2010 issue of Medical Design Briefs Magazine.

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