Microsoft may let you lick your way through your daily tasks


Microsoft may let you lick your way through your daily tasks

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Image credit: Viral Press on YouTube

Being able to control tech in different ways is essential for accessibility. Things like eye-tracking and gesture control open up devices to more people, including those who struggle with a keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen. Plus, these features encourage developers to think outside the box, which leads to welcome innovation. That’s always good for tech. All of this is to say Microsoft has a patent to let you control your PC by moving your tongue.

While originally filed in 2022, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has only just published it. That means we get to look into some weird little doodles about the device that, frankly, doesn’t explain much. I’m struggling to wrap my head around the whole thing. The device wraps around your head, sort of like a VR headset. Then, you use your tongue to navigate a virtual keyboard, which sends the relevant signals to your PC.

A picture of the tongue-based control system.

With this kind of device, though, companies could theoretically use it with phones and tablets, too. There’s no reason the feature can’t make handsets easier to use. It’s easy to think unsavoury thoughts when considering controlling things with your tongue, but get your mind out of the gutter. This could ultimately be a huge leap forward for accessibility.

The only thing we’re not certain about is how easy it would be to strap on. Those that would most benefit would likely need a little help setting it up and taking it off. Microsoft undoubtedly considered this very issue when conceiving the concept, though. Still, there are certainly use cases, constraints aside. The tech could theoretically go beyond virtual keyboards. If linked to a touchscreen, you could navigate entire operating systems, turning your tongue into a finger.

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It’s all very interesting, but there’s no real sign of it on the immediate horizon. It also offers a way to use tech completely noiselessly, which can be a nice boon if you’re someone who lives with a sleep-heavy partner, a baby, or a cat that’s really annoyed by the click-clacking of the best mechanical keyboards. The sky’s the limit as long as the sky is somehow linked to your tongue.

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