Tong, the wearable tongue-controlled computer, was created by designer Dorothee Clasen for her master's degree at Köln International School of Design. The wearable part of the device is a dental retainer fitted with a tongue-ball with a magnet on a set of rails on the underside. A wire connects the brace to a Wi-Fi transmitter that hooks behind the ear.
To make Tong, a snugly-fitting retainer was made from a dental imprint using polyethylene terephthalate glycol, or PETG, a type of thermoplastic.
To make it safe as an oral device, Clasen used silicon instead of glue to attach all of the electronics. The electric cables are also covered with a thin layer of silicon so as to not shock the wearer.
Developing and testing Tong was a unique challenge for the designer.
"Building a wearable for an area of your own body was a bit tricky," Clasen told Dezeen.
"Normally you could stick your design to another person's body and work on shaping details. But in this case, the device would only fit into my mouth. I could not put it in my mouth and work on its shape at the same time," she continued.
Science fiction readers may recall the dental switchboard that Gully Foyle had installed; here's an excerpt from Alfred Bester's 1956 classic The Stars My Destination:
He pressed hard with his tongue against his right upper first molar. The operation that had transformed half his body into an electronic machine, had located the control switchboard in his teeth. Foyle pressed a tooth with his tongue and the peripheral cells of his retina were excited into emitting a soft light...
(Read more about Bester's dental switchboard)
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