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It is fascinating (and perhaps a bit scary) anticipating the human-technology interface in the next hundred years or so based on the acceptance of mobile computers in recent years.

Based on current trends it is easy to see micro headphones advances for hearing feedback from your personal tech. Other advances are obviously going to be in speech input and control.

One possibility that occurred to me is for a tongue keyboard for discreetly communicating with/thru your personal tech. This is not a clumsy analog keyboard but more like a device that uses 3-d Wacom tablet-type feedback. It tracks tongue movements within the mouth without much hardware - maybe just a chip in the tongue tip possibly plus a thin insert behind the top lip.

This would allow text input by touching teeth and locations like the roof of the mouth, etc. Additional possibilities are opened up with tongue gestures, etc.

The texting would Bluetooth (future equivalent) to cellphone equivalent. Possible words per minutes by an experienced user maybe just a little slower than single finger typing?

College students discreetly discussing a lecture... Special forces silently making plans. All looks like telepathy...

The shortcut for making the ‘lol’ symbol? Tongue in cheek...

Is a tongue input device practical?

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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about the feasibility of a tongue keyboard, or are you asking about human-tech innovation overall? $\endgroup$ – Halfthawed Jan 14 '20 at 4:20
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    $\begingroup$ It would help a lot if you wrote an actual question here. $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch - Reinstate Monica Jan 14 '20 at 6:18
  • $\begingroup$ So that part of touch screen that react with touch attachet to the roof of your moouth. Could be done even now. $\endgroup$ – SZCZERZO KŁY Jan 14 '20 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ If an edit has changed the meaning of your question, you can roll it back. $\endgroup$ – Zeiss Ikon Jan 14 '20 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ Oh, and I missed your most recent edit. Your question is now again too broad to answer - you have two questions instead of one. The "what do you expect in 25 years" part is entirely speculative and expects completely open answers - not a good fit for this stack or the entirety of SE which goes against this model. $\endgroup$ – VLAZ Jan 14 '20 at 15:55
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Practical and desirable. Also already exists.

First off, it already exists as assistive technology: http://atwiki.assistivetech.net/index.php/Keyboard_Alternative#Tongue_Control

The main challenge is to A) make it flatter and B) more comfortable to wear. But then it would be a great addition to a display projected into glasses. With that feedback, you could quickly learn to swipe words. Not needing hands is not to be underestimated, be it for comfort, stealth or because your hands are busy.

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  • $\begingroup$ I was aware of the kludgey current technology and that is why you wonder "where will this be in 25 years". $\endgroup$ – WillC Jan 21 '20 at 5:50
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For this to work you need the right mindset.

Halfthawed assumes some kind of direct keyboard function where things need to be tapped. This wouldnt be very effective. But I've worked with a man with a wasting muscle disease who could barely lift his head up for more than a minute and couldnt move his arms across a keyboard. This man was still a manager at a company and wrote pages and pages a day for his work.

He used a setup that supported his head, allowing the low strength of the muscles to simply pull his head in place where it would be kept in place against gravity. This way he could just look around. He also had a laser that he could attach to the framework and a keyboard in front of him. The keyboard registers when the laser hits a key for a certain amount of time to type it. With experience the time looking at the keystrokes could be reduced. I think this guy started at 0,2 seconds to type a key and was at around 0,05 seconds to type a key, so he could quickly look at each letter by moving his head and type entire pages at appreciable speeds.

Apply this to your system. Start with a HUD connected to the tongue. The HUD just shows a keyboard, and the tip of the tongue in the mouth is the cursor. The mouth itself is the size of the screen, so if you push the tip to the top then that's the top of the screen, sides the sides etc. The human tongue is already extremely controllable, that's why we rarely even notice how expertly we maneuver food around our mouth to be chewed or swallowed without biting our tongue so this setup would be easier that moving your head. With time people can easily learn blind typing with their tongue and stop needing to use the HUD keyboard as a guide.

You need an activation movement. For example twisting the tongue to the right activates and deactivates the typing feature, then you move your tongue across the invisible intangible keyboard in your mouth to type or if you are surfing the web or using a computer/phone the tip becomes the mouse cursor.

The tongue could also process information as feedback. If you hook the chip to the nervous system you could for example have specific tastes+vibrations be for different people you are trying to message, allowing the person to recognize who is messaging them or they are messaging too even without a HUD or screen to display the information. Or instead of messages it signals what part of the menu you are in so you know if you are navigating your contacts or sending the nuclear launch codes.

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  • $\begingroup$ Very interesting. I know it sounds trite, but I wonder if don't have as much dexterity with our tongue as we do with a finger. This has not been important to people in the human experience because it is in the domain of the mouth, is pretty limited. Could it be in the future though? $\endgroup$ – WillC Jan 21 '20 at 5:47
  • $\begingroup$ If you look at the motor cortex you can see that the brain portion for the tongue is bigger than the individual fingers. images.app.goo.gl/xeuXYBaQmmpPEmcN8 dont look at the drawing representation but at the line that represents the actual brain portion dedicated to the task. Its unsurprising that the tongue has this much control from the brain as we both eat with it without biting our tongue and we can speak with it, you can even do it at the same time. The dexterity of the tongue is even higher as it has no bones and can even twist itself. $\endgroup$ – Demigan Jan 21 '20 at 8:24
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Possible, but not practical

A full keyboard can easily be made just by using tongue movements as keys. Whether you want to use something as simple as Morse, bit code, or tapping specific teeth in some order, it's all possible.

But the real question as to whether or not people are going to do this is to ask 'Will this be any better than existing technology, or can we use use the equivalent technology to make a superior product'? And the answer is yes - cell phones. The standard to beat here is texting, and texting is very convenient. And even if you decided that you wanted to be stealthy about it, then you can use the same mapping technology attached to gloves to use ASL. Perfectly silent, and doesn't involve tongues implants.

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    $\begingroup$ ...or you can use subvocal microphones. Having only limited familiarity with the tech myself, it's not clear how much is sci-fi and how much is real today, but the idea is you have some device in contact with your throat that picks up speech without actually using your vocal chords. (In sci-fi, I believe they work without even moving your mouth.) $\endgroup$ – Matthew Jan 14 '20 at 15:49
  • $\begingroup$ @Matthew - I think the idea with subvocal microphones is that you still flex your vocal chords the way you would when speaking, like if you were whispering to yourself as quietly as possible and with your mouth closed, but you don't push enough air through them to actually make an audible noise. $\endgroup$ – Hypnosifl Jan 14 '20 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ Could be. At any rate, the way I always see it portrayed, it is not only silent, it would be extremely difficult for someone without access to the hardware to tell what the person is saying... which is not the case for sign-language detecting gloves. Also, if you know how to talk, you already know how to use one. OTOH, accurate recognition of sign-language may or may not be easier. (Modern speech recognition is fairly good, but still not quite the near-perfection usually seen in sci-fi.) But both IMHO would beat tongue keyboards. $\endgroup$ – Matthew Jan 14 '20 at 18:46
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    $\begingroup$ "gloves to use ASL" - or touch-type on a virtual keyboard. Advanced users can then crank up the sensitivity to translate almost imperceptible finger movements in the same direction. It would require a lot of training but it might even be faster than regular touch-type. Warning: Learning to twitch-type and then getting Parkinson's might be devastating to you, so get your genetic predispositions straight before investing the time. $\endgroup$ – John Dvorak Jan 20 '20 at 11:07
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I can imagine a thin film that attaches to the roof of you mouth and lets you use it like a touch pad with your tongue so you could either operate it like a laptop touchpad or a swiftkey type keyboard, as long as you have some sort of screen to see what you are doing(like AR contact lenses which are currently in development), it shouldn't take too long to learn how to use comfortable

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