Tongue control of a five-DOF upper-limb exoskeleton rehabilitates drinking and eating for individuals with severe disabilities

Mostafa Mohammadi*, Hendrik Knoche, Mikkel Thøgersen, Stefan Hein Bengtson, Frederik Victor Kobbelgaard, Muhammad Ahsan Gull, Bo Bentsen, Kåre Eg Severinsen, Benjamin Yamin Ali Khan, Lotte N.S. Andreasen Struijk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Upper limb exoskeletons (ULEs) are robotic devices that can mobilize a severely disabled individual's arm and help the user perform some activities of daily living independently. Despite advancement in the mechanical design of ULEs, a versatile control interface that enables full and continuous control of a ULE with multiple degrees of freedom for a user with disability in both arms and legs (tetraplegia) still requires further research and development. In this study, ten individuals with tetraplegia used a tongue-based interface to fully control a five degrees of freedom ULE for a drinking and a snacking task. This required moving the ULE hand from a wheelchair armrest position to grasp an object (bottle or strawberry) placed on a table in front of the participant, moving the object towards them until it touched a face shield, and placing the object on the table. All participants successfully controlled the exoskeleton and completed the tasks. The drinking task lasted 149.6 s on the first day and 122.9 s (median) on the second day of using the exoskeleton. The participants performed the snacking task only on the first day of ULE use and achieved a median task time of 167.0 s. The study showed that the tongue interface could provide effective, efficient, and safe control of the exoskeleton.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102962
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


  • Assistive devices
  • Disabled individuals
  • Human–robot interaction
  • Rehabilitation robotics
  • Tongue–computer interface
  • Upper limb exoskeleton


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