60-Second Tech

Tooth Sensor Watches Your Mouth

An accelerometer-based oral sensory system embedded in a tooth could identify various oral habits based on dental movement. Larry Greenemeier reports

A person’s mouth says a lot about them. Sounds obvious, but I’m talking less about what vocalizes and more about the way it behaves when we eat, drink, speak or even cough.

Researchers at National Taiwan University believe that monitoring such oral behavior can provide doctors with a wealth of information about a patient’s dietary habits, dental hygiene and overall health.

To test their idea, they built an accelerometer-based oral sensory system to identify how a mouth is being used based on the movement of its teeth. Placed in the mouths of eight people, a prototype system correctly recognized each person’s oral behavior up to 94 percent of the time. [Cheng-Yuan Li et al., Sensor-Embedded Teeth for Oral Activity Recognition]

The researchers now want to build a wireless version that might someday fit inside a fake tooth or attach to a pair of braces. The sensor could send you or your doctor a message when you’re not sticking to your diet or not keeping your promise to quit smoking.

Let’s hope they also build in an alarm for bad breath. That would benefit the person wearing the sensor, and everyone around them as well.

—Larry Greenemeier

[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

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