Feel uneasy about the NSA rifling through your communication records? Well, Mr. Privacy, that might be small potatoes if certain research bears out. In the future, small computers embedded in your teeth might create a digital trail of everything your jaw does, from eating to drinking to speaking.
Researchers at the National Taiwan University in Taipei have created a circuit board small enough to implant into dentures. Utilizing an accelerometer, the tiny teeth tech processes jaw movements into data streams, which can then be translated by algorithms into specific actions such as drinking, eating, talking, coughing, or drinking.
In a test of eight patients fitted with the prototype, the technology accurately recorded "oral activities" 94% of the time.
The current prototype still needs to be powered by an external power source, but researchers hope to create a self-powered version small enough to fit into the crown of a tooth and fitted with a Bluetooth radio that could transmit data wirelessly.
The technology might one day be used by dentists to help patients who clench or grind their teeth, so that those behaviors might be altered in order to avoid more intrusive dental work in the future. The sensors might also be used tattle to your doctor about what you've been eating, drinking, or smoking.
While there is a inherent strangeness about having any personal body data digitized--particularly to intimate movements involving your main orifice--it's not a huge step from volunteering one's pedometer data into the cloud. There are benefits to having any sort of actions digitized; we just hope they remain secure once they've made the jump into such an easily transferable medium.