By Nathan Hurst
As user interfaces go, tonguing a soft, Bluetooth-enabled clicker the size of a wad of gum is one of the odder ways to select, or move, or click, or otherwise control a computer. But for certain situations, it actually makes a lot of sense. Say you’re riding a bike, and want to answer a call on your headset, or look up directions, but don’t want to take your hands off the bars. Or if you’re paralyzed, and need to drive an electric wheelchair, an unobtrusive directional pad in your mouth will be far less noticeable than a standard mouth or chin control device, or even one you press with your shoulder.
“How can we reproduce these interactions while maintaining the discreetness of the interface?” says Pablo Gallego, one of the inventors of the device, called ChewIt. “People cannot tell if you are interacting with ChewIt, or if you have chewing gum or a gummy inside the mouth. Or maybe a caramel.”