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SilkLab, Tufts University

You might soon be able to track your nutrition intake as you take it in.

Arielle Weg
March 23, 2018

Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have developed a device that can identify nutrition data about what you’re eating, as you're eating it. The device, which mounts directly to a single tooth, will wirelessly transmit information about glucose, salt, and alcohol levels to a mobile device, according to Science Daily.

The research will soon be published in the journal Advanced Materials. The device is a 2mm by 2mm square that conforms and bonds to the shape of a person’s tooth. Prior to this, the only way to track consumption was inexactly, through food diaries or personally recording through apps like MyFitnessPal.

So far the tracker has been tested in small-scale studies, proving the device can successfully differentiate between solutions of purified water, artificial saliva, 50 percent alcohol, and wood alcohol. In addition, the sensor can detect different concentrations of glucose, reports ABC News. Should it become widely available, this could be groundbreaking for those looking to control diabetes, high blood pressure, or weight through diet.

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In addition, it's possible that the sensor may help users track and manage stress. The sensor has the ability to detect chemicals in saliva that indicate stress levels and physiological states, according to Medical News Today.

The three layered sensor collects and transmits waves through radio-frequency identification, or RFID. This is the same technology used in electronic toll collection, hotel room cards, and pet chip identification.

When foods are ingested, the tracker can change colors based on the food's chemical makeup, which allows for the nutrients to be detected and measured, according to Science Daily.

At this time, the product is still in the testing phase. It's not clear when or if it will be available to the public or how much it might cost.