Blink Tunes

You'll soon be able to operate a new wireless remote control with blinks, twitches, smiles and yawns

By DANIEL MACHT
|  Saturday, Mar 7, 2009  |  Updated 11:39 PM CDT
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Blink Tunes

Next generation laziness or an innovation for the times?

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Japanese researchers have come up with a new device sure to put "the clapper" and other hands-free gadgets to shame.

The "Mimi Switch" or "Ear Switch," as it's called, could allow you to change the song on your iPod at a flick of the tongue, AFP reported.

Or, say you'd like to switch TV channels to an old rerun of "Bewitched" but your thumb is sore from active remote use. Go ahead and twitch your nose like Samantha and you're there.

The "Mini Switch" uses headphones outfitted with infrared sensors to measure facial movements from inside the ear. The system then hooks up to a mini-computer to communicate with other devices.

Besides offering a cool new way to relish your sedentary lifestyle, the gadget also has more medically useful purposes, according to its inventor, Kazuhiro Taniguchi of Osaka University

It could serve as an emergency services warning system for the elderly or help disabled people operate certain appliances, Taniguichi said. 

But all the fun is still a couple years away since the product isn't yet commercialized, he said.   

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