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This Kinect Project Uses Your Tongue as the Controller

Japanese researchers repurpose the Kinect interface for tongue controls.

The Kinect is a revolutionary device that's turned you and your body into the controller. Now, a Japanese research group out of The University of Electro-Communications is developing a way for the depth-sensing camera interface to detect tongue movement and use it as a control mechanism.

It works just like waving your hand in front of the Kinect, except in this case you are sticking your tongue out. It sounds kind of weird, but it's not a far stretch compared to all the other embarrassing things we've (I've) done in front of a Kinect. [I won't even ask... --Ed.]

Unfortunately, the team is not out to make tongue control based games (darn it). Instead, the tech will be used as a training tool for oral muscles. The project's main goal is to help people--such as stroke victims,--who suffer from oral motor function disorders that have diminished their ability to speak or swallow.

The group demonstrated a top-down shooter game used to train tongues to move left and right. In this game, the system would identify the tongue and its orientation to determine where bullets would go.

The researchers say their system still needs improvement to be more precise and robust enough to detect the motion of lips as well as the tongue. It's a completely reachable goal, we think, given that the Kinect for Windows is designed to read facial expressions.

At least no one is making some kind of kissing simulator right! Right?


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