Smart-tooth sensor could tell you when you're eating too much

The technology is currently only in the prototype stage but future developments would fit inside a cavity

James Vincent
Monday 29 July 2013 17:35

The unstoppable proliferation of wearable tech into polite society continues to blur the lines between science fiction and reality with a new tooth-sensor that can tell you when you’re eating too much.

Developed by a team of Taiwanese scientists, the news was released their paper under the snappy title of ‘Sensor-Embedded Teeth for Oral Activity Recognition’. The scientists say that their the new sensor “recognizes human oral activities, such as chewing, drinking, speaking and coughing.”

The most important part of the sensor is an accelerometer (the same gadget that knows whether your smartphone is upright or on its side) which distinguishes between the ‘motion profiles’ of all the different and entertaining things you do with your mouth.

The team says that their research is a big improvement on previous sensors aiming to record “oral activities” simply because of where the sensor is placed. Having the tech take the place of a tooth “has the advantage of being in proximity to where oral activities actually occur” and allows the sensor to correctly identify what’s going on in your mouth 94 per cent of the time.

Once the sensor has figured out whether you’re chewing the cud or just chewing the fat this data can then be turned into meaningful information on how you spend your day and recommendations for a healthier lifestyle.

The technology is currently only in a prototype stage but the researchers propose that in future the sensor could come equipped with Bluetooth to wirelessly “transmit sensor data to a nearby smartphone”. The scientists also hope to shrink the device so it might fit into a tooth cavity.

“Because the mouth is an opening into human health,” say the scientists, “this oral sensory system has the potential to enhance exiting oral-related healthcare monitoring applications such as dietary tracking.”

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