There’s pretty much smart everything in 2013: smart cars, smart phones, smart TVs, and now smart…teeth? That’s right, recently scientists have used dental cement to adhere sensors onto the artificial teeth of eight volunteers. These smart teeth monitored how people chewed, drank, spoke, and coughed, so that scientists could watch how much people ate or interacted with people.
The sensors monitored all mouth movement in three dimensions, so they could pick up just about anything. Dental resin was used as a sealant so that no saliva damaged the equipment or flung off with any chewing. Volunteers were made to drink a bottle of water, cough, read an article, and chew gum for 40 seconds each.
The movement of the mouth is tied to the overall health, and can shed light on what we eat, or what state our physical and mental health is in. Talking can be a signifier that a person has a healthy social life, whereas coughing could mean there are physical problems in the body. One of the best future uses of these smart teeth may be to help monitor diets, and provide accurate insight for those struggling with their weight.
Hao-hua Chu, a computer scientist at the National Taiwan University in Taipei was apparently inspired by his daughter, specifically, her frequent dentist trips. He asked himself why no one had ever implanted technology into their teeth before.
The future prototypes of these teeth may include tiny Bluetooth radios which could transmit data to mobile devices nearby. Chu wants there to be two options when you need to replace a tooth in coming years: the old fashioned non-technical kind; and ones which record your activities.
So far, the current smart teeth in development are 93.8% accurate in deciphering the mouth’s movement. Would you opt for one of these futuristic artificial teeth in the future?