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News / August 15, 2013

Brushing habits under surveillance

by Guy Hiscott

Researchers at the National Taiwan University have created a mouth sensor that can track how well patients are looking after their teeth, and report any bad habits straight to their dentist.

The new sensor has been created by a team of researchers at the National Taiwan University’s Department of Science and Information Engineering and Department of Electrical Engineering. The sensor fits into the mouth and can recognise human oral activities, such as eating, drinking, speaking and coughing, with a reported accuracy level of 93.8%.

This information is currently sent using a wired connection but researchers are working on producing a way to transmit the data wirelessly to a nearby smartphone.

The device has been tested on eight participants and is currently to be too big to be fitted to an existing tooth. An artificial tooth, likely to replace an existing tooth and coated with dental resin for safety, is the safest way to install the device.

The study found that, as people’s teeth and mouth structure are different, so too are the sensor placements, resulting in variations in the motion data.

To improve the accuracy of the device, the study notes: ‘It is possible to improve the accuracy of person-independent classification by extending the training set to include different sensor placements and oral activity types.’

The study results have been published online as a PDF called Sensor-Embedded Teeth for Oral Activity Recognition.