MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass. – Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have developed miniaturized sensors that can be mounted on a tooth and communicate wirelessly with mobile health devices to transmit data on glucose, salt and alcohol intake. In research to be published soon in the journal Advanced Materials, the researchers said that future versions of the sensors could enable the detection and recording of a wide range of nutrients, chemicals and physiological states. “We have extended common 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 skin or any other surface,” wrote Fiorenzo Omenetto, an author of the research. The sensor has a 2mm x 2mm footprint that can flexibly conform and bond to the irregular surface of a tooth and is made up of a central “bioresponsive” layer that absorbs the nutrient or other chemicals to be detected, and outer layers consisting of two square-shaped gold rings. Together, the three layers act like a tiny antenna, collecting and transmitting waves in the radiofrequency spectrum.
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