Turning Temporary Retainers into the Next Assistive Device

temporary retainer, temporary, retainer, MouthPad, Augmental

Augmental introduced MouthPad^ at CES 2024, a temporary retainer with a tongue-operated touchpad designed for individuals with hand impairments and disabilities.

  • The device consists of a touchpad embedded in a temporary retainer with a battery and Bluetooth.
  • It can connect with laptops, phones, and tablets.
  • For now, it has a five-hour battery life.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2024, Augmental debuted its MouthPad^, a tongue-operated touchpad that turns your mouth into a mouse.

Targeted at individuals with hand impairments and disabilities, this assistive device attaches to the roof of the mouth like a regular temporary retainer. But what isn’t regular about this is its ability to wirelessly connect to laptops, phones, and smartphones and become a mouse for hands-free control.

MouthPad^ can be broken down into three basic components:

  1. A touchpad
  2. A battery
  3. A Bluetooth radio

And don’t worry, the Bluetooth mouthpiece is made from dental-grade material commonly used in aligners and bite guards. So, it’s completely safe to sit in your mouth for hours. However, while it doesn’t hinder speech, you can’t eat if you are wearing it.

Also, the device is so small it weighs only 7.5 grams and measures 0.7mm thick. Each apparatus is molded to the wearer’s mouth through a 3D printing process based on user-submitted dental impressions. That’s such a departure from the usual bulky assistive devices available out there.

During a live demonstration at Las Vegas’ CES 2024, co-founder Tomás Vega showcased the MouthPad^’s capabilities, navigating an iPhone effortlessly and even taking a selfie with the device. In an X post days before the tech expo, Augmental co-founder Corbin Singer also unveiled the first public demonstration of this high-tech temporary retainer.

It offers about five hours of use on a single charge, but Augmental is working on extending the battery life to eight hours by March.

MouthPad^ uses Apple’s Assistive Touch feature for iOS navigation and is recognized by other devices as a Bluetooth mouse. It is already available for early access, with general availability expected later this year.

While it is mainly for individuals with disabilities, it could be used by professionals who rely heavily on their hands such as mechanics and surgeons. Even astronauts have expressed interest in this little piece of creative ingenuity as it may be used aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

As with all creative minds, the sky is the limit. The team is looking into expanding its usefulness into voice and wheelchair control. Augmental wants to make the MouthPad^ a universally inclusive input device.

It’s news like this that should restore your faith in humanity. It’s quite difficult to live in a world that is not built to accommodate you. Instead, you are usually left to change yourself to accommodate the world. Seeing so much effort being put into changing the world to accommodate the various people who live in it is heartwarming.

We may never be able to eradicate all the pain in the world, but alleviating it is enough.

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