An oral sensory system that identifies human oral activities, such as chewing, drinking, speaking, and coughing, wearable in a tooth as a sensor could become the solution that will in future advice the medical doctors when people have defied medical advice to stay. The system which is Machine learning software is taught to recognise each tell-tale jaw motion pattern, then works out how much of the time the patient is having activities in the mouth was built into a tiny circuit board that fits in a tooth cavity, the sensor includes an accelerometer that sends data on mouth motion to a smartphone.
The inventors – Hao-hua Chu and colleagues at National Taiwan University in Taipei conducted an evaluation of this oral sensory system in a laboratory experiment involving 8 participants. The results show 93.8% oral activity recognition accuracy when using a person – dependent classifier and 59.8% accuracy when using a person – independent classifier.
Their intention is to use the mouth as a window on a variety of health issues. The device can be fitted into dentures or a dental brace, and the team plan to miniaturise the device to fit in a cavity or crown.
The prototype was attached to a power source by an external wire, so the team still needs a way to include a microbattery.
Once they manage this, the researchers want to add a Bluetooth radio to the device. But as that is a microwave energy source – albeit a very low power one – Chu says medical experts are advising the team on how to ensure the implant would be safe.
Because of the sensor placement inside the mouth, the safety concern is paramount. All electronic components must be sealed securely and tightly. In the event that the sensor units are mistakenly swallowed, they will pass the human body without causing any harm. Its safety requirements are similar to those of capsule endoscopy, in which patients swallow a camera pill.
The work is due to be presented at the International Symposium on Wearable Computers in Zurich, Switzerland, in September.