Cthulhu, an Arduino shield that lets you taste the Internet

February 4, 2019 | 13:29
Cthulhu, an Arduino shield that lets you taste the Internet
Cthulhu, an Arduino shield that lets you taste the Internet
Cthulhu (pronounce as kə-THOO-loo) is a fictional cosmic entity created somewhere around 1928 by writer H. P. Lovecraft (I got that from Wikipedia). Being fictional and only described in words, its appearance is open to interpretation. Over the years several artists have had a go at it and came up with spectacular drawings, but none of them went as far as to give it the shape of an Arduino Mega add-on shield.

At a first glance the Cthulhu shield, a human-interface device (HID), seems almost as weird as the cosmic entity imagined by H. P. Lovecraft as it connects to the user’s tongue… This sounds strange indeed, but when you think of it a bit more, it doesn't seem that far-fetched after all. Or does it? No, it doesn't. Yes, it does. No, it doesn't. Oh well, just see for yourself.

The Cthulhu Shield sits on your tongue

A flexible mouthpiece containing 18 electrodes allows for bidirectional communication between the shield and the user’s (your) tongue. The shield can stimulate the tongue by sending electrical impulses to it or it can measure the electrical signals produced by the tongue. The shield in turn is plugged on an Arduino Mega.

By measuring tongue activity, the Cthulhu user can control something with his/her tongue. Not only allows this disabled people to interact with their environment, it can also function as a third hand in situations where two hands are not enough.

Stream data from the Internet directly to your tongue

In addition to being a computer interface, the Cthulhu shield is a sensory substitution and augmentation system. Stimulating the tongue allows its owner to learn f.i. to taste colors or sense the directions given by a navigation system (hands-free operation). Tongue stimulation can give senses to the disabled, but can also add and augment senses.

Intended for makers and electronics hobbyists to create their own sensory substitution/augmentation or human-machine interface experiences, the Cthulhu Shield development kit is now on Kickstarter and, being open source, also on GitHub.

P.S. Use at your own risk, galvanic isolation appears to be limited.

Illustration: Sapien LLC
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