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Flexible Artificial Palate for Use in Electropalatography

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000036771D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-29
Document File: 3 page(s) / 36K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Brooks, MD: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

The concept of displaying tongue contact with the roof of the mouth via a matrix of electrodes embedded in a plastic palate has existed for over 20 years. From a simple array of lights to display the contact patterns, systems have developed to an IBM PS/2 personal computer, and software written to allow storage and playback of EPG (electropalatography) displays with graphical analysis of contact data. The therapist can produce and display a visual pattern of a specific sound for the patient to try and copy. The complete system consists of the palate, plugged into a multiplexer box, which is worn around the neck and leads to a PS/2 personal computer.

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Flexible Artificial Palate for Use in Electropalatography

The concept of displaying tongue contact with the roof of the mouth via a matrix of electrodes embedded in a plastic palate has existed for over 20 years. From a simple array of lights to display the contact patterns, systems have developed to an IBM PS/2 personal computer, and software written to allow storage and playback of EPG (electropalatography) displays with graphical analysis of contact data. The therapist can produce and display a visual pattern of a specific sound for the patient to try and copy. The complete system consists of the palate, plugged into a multiplexer box, which is worn around the neck and leads to a PS/2 personal computer.

The artificial palates presently used for EPG take the form of hard acrylic plates, much like a top set of dentures without the teeth, which are custom made for each individual. A dental impression must be taken, and this cast is then used to form an acrylic palate. The 62 electrodes and contact wires are then embedded, and the wires attached to the correct contacts on the connecting plug.

Early attempts with flexible circuitry resulted in pieces of thin plastic with a lower density of contacts than needed, since technology was not advanced enough to allow the necessary circuitry for all 62 electrodes to be etched on such a small area of copper and the custom- made acrylic palate was still necessary, since the flex was not robust enough to adhere to the patient's palate without support. Also, to preserve the original acrylic palate electrode design and lay-out, flexi-palates needed to extend further back into the mouth than previous versions did. The development of a flexible circuit EPG palate provides for these problems solutions described in this disclosure. Description

This flexible artificial palate for use in electropalatography consists of a sandwich of materials:
1. a base of polyamide plastic, shaped as in the figure;
2. a sheet of copper etched to form connecting wires;
3. a layer of insulating plastic;
4. a sheet of copper etched to form electrodes and wires;
5. gold plating to protect the exposed electrodes; and
6. a coverlay of polyamide plastic, with holes 1 punched to

expose...