Assistive Communication Device Using FlexiForce Sensors

This fully automated computer-controlled force sensitive system facilitates communication for the speech-impaired.


Force Sensitive System Helps the Speech-Impaired

The Challenge: Effective communication is a difficulty faced by many people who have impaired speech along with a lack of hand control, which prevents them from writing or typing. The Solution:  A team of students from Singapore Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) undertook the development of a fully automated computer-controlled system for people with disabilities that prevent them from communicating effectively. They developed a solution consisting of a FlexiForce™ sensor, a mouth guard, a LabVIEW program, and a hardware DAQ card. The team, comprised of four Singapore Polytechnic students and two ITE students, identified three main areas to explore – a sensor to activate words, a device that would exert force on this sensor, and software and hardware to provide the automatic generation of the message and link the sensor to the computer. Assistive Device Mouthpiece with Sensors They selected Tekscan’s FlexiForce force sensor as it exhibits a high degree of linearity, low hysteresis, and minimal drift compared to other thin-film force sensors. The team decided that the subject would bite on a mouth guard to comfortably and effectively exert a force on the sensor. This action sends a signal to the software program to display the appropriate letter or number, and ultimately the message the person wishes to convey. For data acquisition, the team used LabVIEW 8 Software and a LabVIEW DAQ card. Using LabVIEW, they developed a program that could generate a series of letters from which the subject could choose, along with a speed control feature to adjust the speed of the letters running on the screen to a suitable rate for each individual user.

Benefits of FlexiForce™ Sensors

  • Ultra-thin sensor construction and flexibility means minimal interference/disturbance to normal action
  • Accurate response gives your customers and end users confidence in the performance of your product
  • Knowledgeable, experienced technical staff help you develop the most effective, economical sensor based on your specific requirements.  All manufacturing takes place at ISO 9001 compliant & 13485 registered Tekscan headquarters.
  • 100% factory inspection ensures your sensors meet established performance specifications

Getting Started with FlexiForce Sensors

FlexiForce sensors are available off-the-shelf in packs of four or eight for testing and prototyping. Visit our online store to place an order, or contact us to discuss customization options with one of our engineers.

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