Thursday, November 28, 2013

The First Valuable Tongue Piercing

A member of my family chose to get a tongue piercing, and I thought it was one of those body modifications that rank right up there with ... well, getting a nostril pierced. I cannot imaging rolling about with a pierced nostril, but then again, I have hay fever and other allergies and use about a box of tissue a week.

Back to tongue piercing: I always thought it had sexual connotations, but now I see that it can have value. Scientists have configured a tongue-piercing as a "joystick" usable to drive a power wheelchair. There are already sip-puff drives, but this seems so much more—in the parlance of engineers—elegant.

Here's a quote from an article in the UK's Daily Mail, the tabloid I rely on for keeping up with kardashians and other Hollywoodoutlandishers.
Most people with spinal cord injuries - or neurologic diseases that also can paralyze - still can move the tongue. It doesn't require special concentration. The tongue is pretty tireless. And the amount of real estate the brain's motor cortex dedicates to the tongue and mouth rivals that of the fingers and hand, offering multiple complex movements, Ghovanloo said. 

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