Qualitative assessment of Tongue Drive System by people with high-level spinal cord injury

Jeonghee Kim, Hangue Park, Joy Bruce, Diane Rowles, Jaimee Holbrook, Beatrice Nardone, Dennis P. West, Anne E. Laumann, Elliot Roth, Emir Veledar, Maysam Ghovanloo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The Tongue Drive System (TDS) is a minimally invasive, wireless, and wearable assistive technology (AT) that enables people with severe disabilities to control their environments using tongue motion. TDS translates specific tongue gestures into commands by sensing the magnetic field created by a small magnetic tracer applied to the user's tongue. We have previously quantitatively evaluated the TDS for accessing computers and powered wheelchairs, demonstrating its usability. In this study, we focused on its qualitative evaluation by people with high-level spinal cord injury who each received a magnetic tongue piercing and used the TDS for 6 wk. We used two questionnaires, an after-scenario and a poststudy, designed to evaluate the tongue-piercing experience and the TDS usability compared with that of the sip-and-puff and the users' current ATs. After study completion, 73% of the participants were positive about keeping the magnetic tongue-barbell in order to use the TDS. All were satisfied with the TDS performance and most said that they were able to do more things using TDS than their current ATs (4.22/5).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)451-465
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Assistive technologies
  • Computer access
  • Magnetic tongue piercing
  • Qualitative analysis
  • Questionnaire
  • Rehabilitation
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Tetraplegia
  • Tongue drive
  • Wheelchair navigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation

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