Did you forget to brush your teeth? Chances are you won’t readily admit this in front of your dentist, but with this new project, you really won’t be able to lie about it.
A tooth sensor invented by National Taiwan University researchers, monitors your oral health habits and communicates all that information to, like it or not, your dentist. All for your own good, of course.
The sensor, still in a prototype stage, measures half an inch and can be either embedded in an artificial tooth or fitted into braces of dentures. For the time being, the tooth sensor conveys its readings via a wired connection, but the Taiwan research team is planning to add a tiny battery and a Bluetooth transmitter so as to stream the readings wirelessly to a smartphone.
The system uses an accelerometer to monitor mouth movements. Since every oral activity such as chewing, drinking, coughing or speaking has different motion patterns, the sensor was especially designed to record and interpret these patterns and thus be able to identify each activity.
So far, the tooth sensor was tested on eight subjects, five male and three female. Each of them was asked to carry out different tasks, that included drinking water, reading, chewing gum or coughing – a total of 60 activity samples.
The samples helped create a mouth movement profile for each of the subjects, thus allowing the sensor to correctly identify the activity with a 93.8% accuracy rate. The success rate was lower, 59.8%, when the sensor used data from only seven subjects to identify the oral activity samples of the eighth.
Besides working to incorporate a rechargeable battery and a Bluetooth sensor, scientists will also have to find a way to calibrate the sensor for each individual, since every person’s mouth movements are different.
If successful, the device can be used to closely monitor oral health and convey information about your oral habits to your doctor. So if you’re not sticking to your diet and having one or two extra meals or if you’ve promised to quit smoking but you’re trying to get away with “one last cigarette” now and then, the sensor will tell your doctor.
It will probably be annoying, but remember this will be for your own good and you’ll have a much healthier mouth. What do you think? Share your thoughts of the tooth sensor in the comments below!
[Image via digital trends]