A recent breakthrough in miniaturized sensor technology could end up taking a bite out of personal privacy. Researchers developed a wearable small enough to stick on a human tooth virtually unnoticed. And it’s capable of wirelessly transmitting data on any chemicals it comes in contact with.
The team, researchers from Tufts University School of Engineering, set out to create a better solution for monitoring dietary intake. Their work could prove invaluable to medical researchers and has the potential to save innumerable lives.
The device could give doctors real-time alerts on patients based on actual chemical intake. This means that rather than wait for an emergency, when it’s often too late, they could respond before there’s a problem.
Imagine what a difference this could make for people who need to monitor glucose or sodium levels – it could be revolutionary in the field of preventative medicine. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Fiorenzo Omenetto, one of the authors on the project’s upcoming white paper, told TNW:
“While we are aware about what we ingest, we may indulge (or deal with overeating pathologies). On the other hand, sampling and monitoring analytes in the oral cavity could help in a number of ways: from monitoring/early detection of dental health to monitoring physiological states such as fatigue through saliva sampling. Obviously the latter applications require device refinements in terms of sensitivity and specificity to the analytes of interest.”
Unfortunately, in 2018, there’s also an ugly side to any thing that collects personal data, as evidenced by the currently unfolding Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal.
For most of us, putting a sticker on our tooth isn’t much of a stretch compared to wearing a watch or keeping a phone in our pocket that tracks our every step. But even that small amount of data can paint a pretty huge picture of how you spend your time:
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