This computer interface you wear like a mustache will let you open doors and play games with your lips

Researchers at the University of Chicago have designed a device to let you use your lips as an "input & output surface." The goal is to provide a true hands-free and eyes-free interface in situations where hands and eyes aren't practical to use. 

LipIO (spotted by SWEClockers) uses a thin, flexible plastic sheet with a conductive material and five electrodes fixed to the top lip. Using electrostimulation capacitive touch sensing, the user can receive information via lip stimulation while using lip and tongue gestures to give and send commands. 

LipIO was designed with people with disabilities in mind, and the video above shows how it can be used as a hands-free device for things like playing whack-a-mole, tuning guitars, and even receiving GPS directions while bike riding.

An everyday use case shown in the video has a user's lip getting stimulation via the center electrode whenever the doorbell rings and then licking their upper lip to unlock the door. 

Other practical uses researchers have in mind for LipIO include steering an electric wheelchair, scrolling through phones, and even adding effects to a DJ set, like adding an echo by licking the corner of your mouth. Speech is unaffected since the device sits on your lip and not inside your mouth. 

Some gaming applications were mentioned, such as controlling game volume without taking your hands off the controller or pairing the LipIO with a VR headset for "adding realism" in virtual reality games by letting the player experience haptic feedback on their lips. 

In the future, the team wants to reduce the unit's size and develop a wireless solution since the current version of the LipIO needs to be plugged into a control unit. 

I suppose now it's only a matter of time before someone beats Malenia in Elden Ring with kissy faces. Someone has already done it with their mind, so why not their tongue?


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Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware, from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for over ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, Tom's Guide, and a bunch of other places on the world wide web.