Some tech just sounds too good to be true. A removable, wireless sensor that adheres to dental enamel and can detect trace amounts of harmful bacteria just might fall into the too-much-information category for the squeamish among us.
“This is a real-time, wireless response from a sensor that can be directly interfaced with a variety of biomaterials,” principal investigatorMichael McAlpine, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said in a school news release. “In principle, the graphene can be…configured to detect DNA or certain viruses.”
For the team’s study, published in the journal Nature Communications, the sensor was affixed to a cow’s tooth and tailored to detect a sample of bacteria described as causing surgical infections and leading to stomach ulcers.
The major advance, the researchers say, is using graphene with a biocompatible base — in this instance silk — instead of silicon. Not only is silk easier to interface on a body part, and thus more comfortable for the user, but it is also soluble, so it can wash away with water or be dissolved by enzymes and leave the graphene and antenna in place.
More info here.