NEW YORK — Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have built a prototype mouth guard designed to monitor various health markers in saliva and then transmit the data wirelessly to a mobile device.
The mouth guard sensor can continuously monitor levels of lactate, cortisol and uric acid non-invasively in patients, athletes, or even soldiers to assess health, performance and stress levels. In the current study, the researchers focused on uric acid, which can be associated with conditions like diabetes and gout.
According to UC San Diego's press release: "The mouth guard sensor offers an easy and reliable way to monitor uric acid levels in human saliva." (Source: UC San Diego, Jacobs School of Engineering)
Unlike previous methods for measuring uric acid, which required drawing of blood, the mouth guard uses a bio-sensing platform for real-time monitoring of the uric acid levels in the saliva in a person's mouth. The sensing platform itself was screen printed using silver, Prussian blue ink and uricase, an enzyme that reacts with uric acid, and nano-engineered to provide the chemical equivalent of a two-step authentication system to ensure the sensor only reacted with uric acid.
The system's miniaturized electronics include a potentiostat, microcontroller, and Bluetooth Low Energy transceiver, according to a press release. The electronic board occupies an area slightly larger than a U.S. penny.
Initial testing was performed using collected saliva samples from volunteers. The next step planned is to embed the system in a mouth guard that can be worn - a process that will involve testing of the various sensor and electronic materials to ensure their biocompatibility.
For more details, see the paper in the journal Biosensors and Bioelectronics: Wearable salivary uric acid mouthguard biosensor with integrated wireless electronics.
UC San Diego Center for Wearable Sensors
—Rich Pell writes for EE Times Europe. He recently was the Power Management Designline editor on EE Times and the executive technical editor of EDN.
Article originally posted on EE Times Europe.