Evaluation of a smartphone platform as a wireless interface between tongue drive system and electric-powered wheelchairs. Academic Article uri icon


  • Tongue drive system (TDS) is a new wireless assistive technology (AT) for the mobility impaired population. It provides users with the ability to drive powered wheelchairs (PWC) and access computers using their unconstrained tongue motion. Migration of the TDS processing unit and user interface platform from a bulky personal computer to a smartphone (iPhone) has significantly facilitated its usage by turning it into a true wireless and wearable AT. After implementation of the necessary interfacing hardware and software to allow the smartphone to act as a bridge between the TDS and PWC, the wheelchair navigation performance and associated learning was evaluated in nine able-bodied subjects in five sessions over a 5-week period. Subjects wore magnetic tongue studs over the duration of the study and drove the PWC in an obstacle course with their tongue using three different navigation strategies; namely unlatched, latched, and semiproportional. Qualitative aspects of using the TDS-iPhone-PWC interface were also evaluated via a five-point Likert scale questionnaire. Subjects showed more than 20% improvement in the overall completion time between the first and second sessions, and maintained a modest improvement of 9% per session over the following three sessions.

published proceedings

  • IEEE Trans Biomed Eng

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, J., Huo, X., Minocha, J., Holbrook, J., Laumann, A., & Ghovanloo, M.

citation count

  • 54

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Jeonghee||Huo, Xueliang||Minocha, Julia||Holbrook, Jaimee||Laumann, Anne||Ghovanloo, Maysam

publication date

  • June 2012