I Know You Ate the Last Piece


We already wear devices that track our activity levels, sleep, and heart rate. But how about, what you eat? A device so small that it can be stuck to our teeth can report on chemicals it comes in contact with, salt, sugar, fats, alcohol and even tobacco smoke. It then wirelessly transmits that information to our phones.

Scientists recently developed these miniaturized sensors. Future versions will expand on the number of nutrients and chemicals detected and potentially also report on the wearer's physiological states, like blood sugar levels or fatigue.

The sensor is only 2mm square, is flexible and can bond to the uneven surface of a tooth. The sensor transmits data much like highway toll collection devices through a radiofrequency signal. The sensor has three layers. The middle one is bioresponsive and reads the chemicals that come into the mouth. The outside layers consist of two square shaped rings of gold. Together they function like a tiny antenna that collects and transmits various radiofrequencies based on the chemicals detected.

If that sounds like science fiction, that fiction is here, now. And there are all sorts of applications. It could warn people with allergies of allergens in food. It could relay to your car the number of drinks you've had.

Though these sound helpful, we've become aware lately how our personal information can be abused. What if our insurance company charges us a higher rate because we ate too many donuts? Lawmakers are woefully behind in regulating what can be done with this information and who owns it.

So, even though these devices can improve your life, would you use it?

More Information

This Tiny Tooth Sensor Could Keep Track of the Food You Eat
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A tiny sensor on your tooth could help keep you healthy
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