To put it lightly, I'm not a huge fan of going to the dentist, and I'm willing to bet you aren't either.
Wouldn't it be great if we could tattoo our teeth with sensors that monitor our oral health and maybe keep the dentist away a little bit longer? Plus, we would know exactly what we're getting into when we make that dentist appointment.
Thankfully, Michael McAlpine and his research team at Princeton University are looking into that very technology. Their research has shown that a graphene sensor "tattooed" onto a tooth can be used to detect bacteria and wirelessly monitor oral hygiene.
The graphene is printed onto water-soluble silk and can be "bio-transferred" onto tooth enamel. (Does that require going to the dentist, too? Hmmmm.) Once the film is applied to the tooth, the silk dissolves in water, leaving only the sensor in place. It uses antimicrobial peptides and a resonant coil, so bacteria cells can be detected without needing an on-board power supply.
On top of that, the sensor is equipped with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag that can provide additional monitoring.
As bacteria binds with the peptides, a small electric current occurs in the graphene because of tiny electric charges in bacterial cell membranes. An antenna can be used to receive the sensor's current and the bacterial pathogen can be diagnosed.
With his penchant for tattoos, Grillz and a staggering sweet tooth that's been the root of major dental surgery, Lil' Wayne might be the perfect mouth piece to launch this technology into consumers of pop culture. Who knows, he might even spit forth a mix tape espousing the importance of oral hygiene.
Credit: Michael McAlpine