Engineers from the University of Auckland’s Augmented Human Lab have designed a chewable device that lets users wirelessly interact with mobile devices and PCs by using ‘oral gestures,’ such as biting, tongue manipulation, and location changes. ChewIt is an intraoral input interface that resembles an edible object and allows for hands-free input operations in a discreet manner.
The engineers explain, “Our design is informed by a series of studies investigating the implications of shape, size, locations for comfort, discreetness, maneuverability, and obstructiveness. Additionally, we evaluated potential gestures that users could utilize to interact with such an intraoral interface.” The team was looking to strike a balance between social acceptability and high input bandwidth, meaning you could interact with the device with the similar appearance of chewing gum or candy.
The ChewIt input interface device was designed using an MPU-9250 9-axis motion tracking IMU, as well as a DMP (Digital Motion Processor) that’s integrated into a custom flexible PCB, which determines the orientation and movement of the device for gestural inputs. A Nordic nRF51822 2.4GHz low-power SoC with Bluetooth transceiver handles the data stream to the mobile device. A button placed inside the device triggers the gestural inputs through a biting gesture. The entire build is housed inside a 3D-printed casing made from PLA filament.
ChewIt can translate six intraoral gesture types for interaction- including bites, rotations, tongue movement, location changes, and tongue drawing. The potential applications include listening and switching music tracks while working out, the ability to give a hands-free presentation, multitasking while working, and a host of others. It could also be beneficial for disabled people as a way to interact with smarthomes and other devices, providing an excellent way of being self-sufficient. Brush your teeth.. then brush your ChewIt!