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Tracking dietary habits via smart dental implant

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jnikola Oct 12, 2021
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People are trying to track and shape their dietary habits to live a longer and healthier life. Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smartphone apps are being developed to tackle calory intake, healthier cooking, and workout routines. Workouts are being specifically tailored to your body type and daily routines, recipes are becoming more nutrient and fun, but calory intake remains to be very inaccurate due to the manual data input. In other words, the fatal flaw of the existing programs is that they rely predominantly on guesswork when it comes to portion size . As it's the first and thus, the most important step in dietary and workout planning, it should be more precise.

The idea
To remove the weakest (human) link, I suggest using a dental implant capable of tracking the nutrient intake.

The existing solutions and their flaws

The current standard are the smartphone apps that motivate you to write down what you eat and drink. They make it easier for you by allowing you to record voice notes or use shortcuts, but it requires time and effort. --> low accuracy

In 2015 there was a great attempt to automatize the calorie counting by the GoBe bracelet. It relied on a technology called bioimpedance. When we eat, nutrients go to cells, which affects its water balance. These guys measured the water flow and constructed a glucose curve. Adding it to the new algorithm, they managed to measure 514 calories in a person which ate 550-calorie meal (which is pretty accurate!) . The problem is that it requires long calibration process and you need to wait few hours after the food/beverage intake for the results to occur. Today, they are bragging with 89% accuracy in calorie tracking, stand on 36 patents and are my biggest rivals . --> time-consuming, thus, not adequate for treating acute health issues like allergies, poisonings or diabetes

I also read story of a tooth sensor capable of measuring the glucose, salt and alcohol . Similar device was used to measure oral behaviours (jaw movements) . --> small scope of nutrient detection

The concept
The last device is frighteningly close to my idea, but can also serve as a great mould to steer in the right direction. I imagine the device to be a tooth implant or a piercing-like device that integrates inside your tooth. The optimal position would be in the back of the mouth (molars), so that it gets in contact with all the chewing compounds you intake.

It should have the following functions:
  • keep track of chewing and swallowing habits via integrated accelerometer
  • keep track of the quality and quantity of the diet (food and beverage types, key nutrients, glucose, alcohol, salts, potential poisons or harmful compounds)
  • keep track of drug intake
  • connect to the nearby authorized device
  • give a detailed review of dietary habits
  • alert on potential allergic reactions, intolerances or other dietary issues that could occur (based on the user's profile)
  • alert on potential diseases or disorders that could occur
  • alert the diabetics on potentially low/high sugar levels
  • suggest changes in dietary plan
  • have add-ons capable of microbiome tracking (smart pill), heart attack prevention (nitroglycerine boosters), etc.
The technology of nutrient detection would be a combination of accelerometer , raman detector (like the one used in TellSpec ) and a set of functional RF-Trilayer Sensors (used in dental sensor ) .







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General comments

Shubhankar Kulkarni
Shubhankar Kulkarni3 years ago
Love the idea! And although you have competition, your device (the tooth implants) will measure the caloric intake more accurately than theirs. Because what you are measuring is pre-gastro-processed food. What they are measuring is post-processed food. A lot of things happen in between and they are not quantitatively similar in all humans. For example, the uptake of different kinds of nutrients from the intestine is different in different people. Along with the amount of intake, the time required to assimilate the food is different leading to differences in (let us consider sugar, for example) blood sugar in two people who have had the same food at the same time. This does not mean one is diabetic and the other is not. Although these differences are subtle, when you compound this error with other errors like photoplethysmographic measurement error, calculatory assumptions, and human error (how your wear the sensor on the body - loosely, tightly), it amounts to a lot since it multiplies.
However, there might be a reason why no one measures the "food in mouth". I could think of the easiest way, that is, to insert a wired sensor into the buccal cavity and measure the nutrients while the person eats. Though cumbersome, it is the easiest way. Since no such devices are available even for glucose, which is, I think, the most studied molecule in regards to its measurement in humans, there might be some non-feasible processes involved in such measurements.
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