We all know that the Microsoft Kinect is one of the most complete motion-control platforms ever created. By pairing a simple camera with sophisticated software, the Kinect team has brought skeletal tracking to gaming (and soon business operations) like never before. But there's one part of the body that the Kinect's standard software has overlooked: the tongue.
Researchers from the University of Elecro-Communications in Japan are in the process of programming the Microsoft Kinect to detect tongue movements and build software around that function. The team has already developed a simple turret game that can be played using your tongue to direct shots fired from the turret in the middle of the screen. Researchers hope that such games will help train tongues in people with speech and swallowing disorders.
The tongue-tracking system is built on some of the basic Microsoft Kinect functions. First, the system detects a person's eyes. The system is able to estimate the position of a person's nose based on the position of their eyes. The researchers have programmed the Kinect to estimate the position of a person's mouth area relative to their eyes and nose. When a person's tongue begins moving in the area that the machine assumes is the mouth area, movement values are obtained. Voila! The system is tracking a person's tongue. The movement values recieved by the system can be programmed to execute a variety of functions.
To hear more about this burgeoning technology, watch the video below.