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Bite force transducer embedded in a gumshield

I am a quadriplegic and paralysed from the shoulders down. I am working on a project to allow me to control a go kart.
I have limited use of my arms which should allow me to control the steering but I am trying to get another degree of freedom to control acceleration and/or braking
One of the ideas is to use a piezoelectric type force transducer in the mouth to control and acceleration via an arduino or similar.
The transducer would detect bite force and it would be converted into control signals for the throttle and/or brake. It would be embedded in a gumshield and it would be acceptable to have a cable coming from the front of it to the control System.
I am wondering has anyone worked on such a project and could anyone point me in the right direction please.

The gumshield may end up looking something like the image here.

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greenonyx (author) 3 years ago

This paper has some relevance here although I do not intend to use a wireless system.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3478796/

Kiteman3 years ago

Quantum tunnelling composite (QTC) might fit your needs.

It's a rubberised material, with resistance that varies dramatically with pressure, at quite a reasonable cost (about 50c per "pill").

http://www.peratech.com/qtc-material.html

http://www.rapidonline.com/Education/QTC-Pills-eac...

http://openmaterials.org/materials-101-quantum-tun...

greenonyx (author)  Kiteman3 years ago

Great material, thanks!

You're welcome.

You might want to try educational suppliers for it as well, as it is used in schools for STEM activities about "smart" materials (along with memory wire and beads that change colour under UV).

Thanks for posting. I ordered a few pieces off of ebay since no one else really carries it across the pond. It should make some interesting stuff, they suggest sticking it between the batteries in those screw down twist-on flashlights to make it variable brightness.

I've heard of it being used in floor switches as well, and as an electronic force meter or weighing scale, although I'm not sure how precise it would be.

caitlinsdad3 years ago

Look up velostat which is some kind of thick fabric with conductive stuff mixed in. Lots of examples out there to turn it into a wearable pressure sensor. You can cover and probably embed that as a layer in your bitepiece. The more you press or squeeze the fabric patch, the conductivity increases and gives a variable reading to the arduino. Adafruit.com has examples in using this as a step sensor in their firewalker shoes tutorial and you can purchase it there too. I don't know how well it would work to have a two sided switch like biting down on the left side or right. Good luck.