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Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch
Moderators: adafruit_support_bill, adafruit

Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.

Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by GeoffreyShea on Sat Nov 27, 2021 6:31 pm

I'm using this proximity sensor (VCNL4010) as a tongue controlled switch for my son, who is quadriplegic. This prototype works great. I've covered the switch with a plastic bag, but I intend to use food-grade epoxy to protect against moisture. If I could shrink the form factor, I could put two of these on the roof of his mouth and move them closer to the front so he can use the tip of his tongue.

Do you know of a smaller version of this circuit or a way to shrink it?

Thanks,

Geoffrey

proimity_sensor.jpg
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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by adafruit_support_bill on Sat Nov 27, 2021 8:24 pm

The breakout board layout is designed for ease of use - not minimal size. Most of the other breakout boards I've seen for this chip seem to be clones of our design, so they are the same size. You could cut off the top edge of the board - as far as the bottom of the two mounting holes without affecting the active circuitry.

It would be possible to shrink the circuit down to fit on a smaller board. The CAD files for the board can be fond here. PCB fabricators like OSHPark specialize in small prototype production runs if you want to give that a try: https://github.com/adafruit/VCNL4000

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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by GeoffreyShea on Sun Nov 28, 2021 12:29 pm

Thanks. That's very helpful.

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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by bcochran1 on Sun Nov 28, 2021 2:14 pm

Hi,

I wonder how this has gone?

Thanks so much

Bob

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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by GeoffreyShea on Sun Nov 28, 2021 3:10 pm

Hi Bob,

So far so good. He is able to accurately trigger the switch with little effort. We hope to get two (or more) switches working. Eventually we would like to use bluetooth, if we can find a safe battery.

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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by Disciple on Mon Nov 29, 2021 6:28 pm

I'm paying attention to this topic, too. My first thought was whether two sensors could be positioned to roughly detect the tongue's position in X and Y, with a switch closed by biting, the base for a mouth joystick to control a screen cursor. Best of success to you.

Hallelujah!
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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by GeoffreyShea on Fri Dec 03, 2021 8:37 pm

Hi Disciple,

That thought has crossed my mind as well, for a later iteration. These people seemed to have used two sensors top create a mouse movement, but I don't see schematics:

http://pallette.io/instructions.html

Thanks for your interest,

Geoffrey

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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by Claude_J_Greengrass on Sat Dec 04, 2021 2:20 pm

GeoffreyShea wrote:Hi Disciple,

That thought has crossed my mind as well, for a later iteration. These people seemed to have used two sensors top create a mouse movement, but I don't see schematics:

http://pallette.io/instructions.html

Thanks for your interest,

Geoffrey

I too am following this thread as there is not much anywhere about BioMedical applications for Arduino

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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by Claude_J_Greengrass on Sat Dec 04, 2021 3:25 pm

I tracked down the software here: https://hackaday.io/project/15557-pallette

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Re: Proximity Sensor for Quadriplegic Tongue Switch

by jps2000 on Sun Dec 05, 2021 3:33 am

Hi Geoffrey.
I am deeply impressed about your work and fate. You deserve definitely all support.
I thought about solutions and you may consider another one:
It should be possible to use air pressure acting as a switch. You may use thin silicone tubes or bubbles that can be easily compressed by the tongue. They can be connected air tight via thin flexible tubes to barometric sensors like BMP390 or the like.
Compression of tiny bubbles inside the mouth cause pressure peaks on the sensors that can easily be detected and control a HID as ususal.

You showed this gum plate. That could be modified having some hollow silicone bubbles on the inner side of the teeth. 3-4 should be possible.
Making such silicone bubble aktuators is not so difficult although it would require some model maker or dental technician skills.

I have great experiences with two component silicon materials for casting. They are food/ medical grade and available in different shore hardnesses.
There you may cast some little tubes with closed ends about 4mm inner diameter and 6mm outer diameter. You can make moulds by 3d printing.

Main advantage of such air pressure controlled devices are that they are very safe, light weight reliable. and water resistant. They can also be operated just by airflow.

Also an Inertial sensor can be helpful. detecting orientation of the head etc when mounted on googles

Finally I want to mention www.openbci.com. They provide very affordable eeg devices that may be uses for eye blink detection or even more. You can also easily get in touch with them for further advise.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.