Scientists from the University of Chicago have created LipIO, a new way for people to control computers or other digital devices. Instead of using eyes and hands, this special tool uses small lip and tongue movements to send and receive information. This is very helpful for people who can’t use their sight or hands.
LipIO is a thin plastic sheet with special materials that stick to your skin and electrodes that touch your lips. It uses electricity to work and respond to small touches from your tongue or lower lip. The device was made with the help of hobbyist-grade components and its instructions were shared online for others to use too.
The lip system was designed to help people with disabilities, but it can also be used for lots of different things. For example, LipIO has been demonstrated for tuning guitars, getting navigation information while riding a bike and letting DJs add special effects.
This technology could also be used for Virtual Reality (VR) experiences. The research paper suggests using it to make different tastes come alive while being in VR, just like tasting “virtual ice cream”! To do this, the device would use electricity to stimulate parts of the tongue, like we feel sour, salty, bitter and sweet when we eat something real. So, you’ll get to enjoy different flavours without actually eating it! Isn’t that cool?
LipIO is a very large piece of equipment with lots of wires so the scientists are trying to make it smaller and easier to use in real life. They also want people not to have to lick their lips when using this technology in public settings.