Tooth Sensor Recognizes Oral Activity, Tells on You

“Self-control. People don’t have it” could read a meme. When it comes to smoking or overeating, some individuals either can’t or don’t want to stop, but these sensor-embedded teeth are about to change how things work.

Ever felt like your teeth act like double agents? Well, if you haven’t, you might get to experience this pretty soon, all thanks to researchers from the National Taiwan University. Hao-hua Chu, the head of the team, glued the prototype of the teeth probe to the denture of 8 unlucky individuals. “Why unlucky?” you might ask. Maybe because the sensor will transmit wirelessly any incident of overeating or smoking. And all that not to just anyone, but to the health care providers the individuals are registered to.

Probably the most terrifying thing about the sensor-embedded teeth is the accuracy of nearly 94%. In other words, in that many cases the tooth sensor could distinguish smoking from chewing, speaking and coughing. However, the project is not without downsides. For example, the probe cannot tell if some people are chewing on their food or on their gums. That seems to be a habit that might be problematic. The National Taiwan University Team intends to improve the sensor so that it differentiates those two oral activities. If only the sensor could also make the difference between fast-food and the healthy variety, maybe obesity wouldn’t be such a great problem anymore.

Another detail the team needs to work on is the size of the sensor. Don’t get me wrong, it already is tiny, but making it even smaller could enable dentists to place it inside crowns or cavities. An on-board power source also needs to be implemented. The to-do list also includes a Bluetooth connectivity device, presumably in miniature size that could be safely placed inside the mouth.

The way I see it, we’re getting closer to smart implants. In the not-so-distant future, we might get the option of having our bodies upgraded with all sorts of probes and sensors. Personally, I feel that if we can’t make robots to be more like humans, maybe we should try the other way around.

Additional details (a bit more technical) are available in this PDF that The National Taiwan University Team put together. It will be interesting to see where this project is headed.

If you liked this post, please check the smart fork that prevents you from overeating and the LED ice cubes that prevent drinking too much alcohol.