Ten other patients signed up but dropped out. One had the piercing fall out, researchers reported, while others had problems finding transportation to the study site, unrelated medical issues or lost interest.
Ghovanloo plans to add functions to the smartphone app to let users turn on the TV or the lights with a flick of the tongue, too. He's also made the device less visible — putting the headset's sensors on a dental retainer instead. Studies begin soon to tell if that approach works without compromising users' speech.
DiSanto has signed up for that next round of testing.
"Somebody that's in a wheelchair already has a stigma," he said. "If there was something that could be developed to control my wheelchair and the environment around me, to make me more independent without having to have medical devices coming out of my mouth, it would be a huge benefit."