Scientists have developed tooth-mounted sensors that can keep a track of what we eat and drink in real-time.
Researchers at the Tufts University School of Engineering made the small 2-millimeter by a 2-millimeter device that can be mounted directly on a tooth. It would track everything the person consumes and transmit the data wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet.
It has three sandwiched layers -- a central bioresponsive layer that helps in absorbing the nutrient or other chemicals to detect, and the outer layers consist of two square-shaped gold rings.
The three layers together act like a tiny antenna which collects and transmits waves in the radiofrequency spectrum. "In theory, we can modify the bioresponsive layer in these sensors to target other chemicals – we are really limited only by our creativity," said Tufts professor Fiorenzo Omenetto, one of the authors of the study.
In the study that would be published soon in the journal Advanced Materials, researchers noted that the sensor also changes color.
For example, if salt or alcohol hits the central layer of the sensor, the electrical properties will shift and cause the sensor to absorb and transmit a spectrum of radiofrequency waves with varying intensity. It is how the nutrients and other things are detected and measured.
"We have extended common RFID [radiofrequency ID] technology to a sensor package that can dynamically read and transmit information on its environment, whether it is affixed to a tooth, to the skin, or any other surface," Omenetto said.