Development of a Tongue-Piercing Method for Use With Assistive Technology

Julia S. Minocha, MD1; Jaimee S. Holbrook, MD2; Dennis P. West, PhD1; Maysam Ghovanloo, PhD3; Anne E. Laumann, MBChB, MRCP(UK)1
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Dermatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
2Department of Pediatrics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
3GT-Bionics Laboratory, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(4):453-454. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.7165.
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Piercing the tongue for wearing jewelry is not infrequent among young adults.1,2 The procedure is not usually performed by medical personnel. A new assistive technology for people with tetraplegia, the Tongue Drive System (TDS), utilizes voluntary tongue movements for control.3 The operator uses a magnet attached to the tongue together with an externally mounted sensor array that detects changes in the magnetic field to drive powered wheelchairs and access computers.4 We hypothesized that a magnet-containing barbell would provide a semipermanent means of attaching the magnet to the tongue. Our aims were to design a medically appropriate tongue-piercing method and to confirm that using a magnet-containing tongue barbell works to control the TDS.

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