25 results for “Fitness Boosters”

This tiny tooth sensor tracks what you eat, and it could help you be healthier

Vanessa Bates Ramirez
December 28th 2018

The South Beach diet. The Atkins diet. Eating paleo. Cutting out gluten. Going vegan. The list of fad diets and health crazes goes on, yet health statistics in the US and around the world show that most people still don’t know what to eat, or when, or how much.

New research from Tufts University’s engineering school has created a product that may be able to help: a sensor worn on users’ teeth that wirelessly transmits data about food intake to …

A Floating Gym in Paris

Ruben Baart
January 10th 2017
This floating gym harnesses human energy to sail down the Seine River in Paris.

The Next Nature Sneaker Series

Mathilde Nakken
December 14th 2016
We present for the real sneaker heads amongst us, six new futuristic pieces of footwear. Going from pineapple leather to self lacing 'Back to the Future' Nikes.

A Smart Top to Correct Body Posture

Ruben Baart
November 23rd 2016
FysioPal is a smart top made to support and enhance the upper-body and posture.

Bringing Augmented Reality to Fitness

Ruben Baart
September 12th 2016
Fitbit just released a new motivational feature that aims to trigger their users to go out and exercise more.

Fitness Tracker to Make Happy Meal Healthier

Ruben Baart
August 30th 2016
McDonald’s provided their Happy Meals with a high-tech activity tracker toy.

Shock Therapy for a Better Self

Julia Weber
July 9th 2014
The Pavlok wristband gives its wearers an electric shock if they fail at hitting work deadlines or completing fitness goals.

We Are Weaker Than Our Ancestors

Alessia Andreotti
May 21st 2014
Human fitness has decreased so significantly that even the strongest of us would consider ancient men to have a supernatural force.

The (Almost) Invisible Dancing Wheelchair

Jonathon Markowski
October 15th 2013
Designed by a dancer, a new wheelchair moves intuitively with the user's movements.

Feeling Sad? Ladies in Korea Go Under the Knife for a Perma-Smile

Allison Guy
September 5th 2013
Surgery for a cute, cheerful duckface – permanently.
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The South Beach diet. The Atkins diet. Eating paleo. Cutting out gluten. Going vegan. The list of fad diets and health crazes goes on, yet health statistics in the US and around the world show that most people still don’t know what to eat, or when, or how much.

New research from Tufts University’s engineering school has created a product that may be able to help: a sensor worn on users’ teeth that wirelessly transmits data about food intake to a smartphone app.

In a paper published in March in the journal Advanced Materials, the Tufts team deconstructed the sensor. It’s made of a porous silk film or a hydrogel that responds to changes in pH or temperature—the active layer—sandwiched between two square-shaped gold outer panels. The sensor’s middle layer detects chemicals and nutrients, reacting to different inputs with a shift in its electrical properties. That shift causes the sensor to transmit a different spectrum and intensity of radio frequency waves back to the app.

The future of the bioresponsive sensor

Fiorenzo Omenetto, a biomedical engineering professor at Tufts and co-author of the study, said, “We have extended common RFID [radio frequency ID] technology to a sensor package that can dynamically read and transmit information on its environment, whether it is affixed to a tooth, to skin, or any other surface.”

Measuring just two millimeters on each side, the sensor is impressively tiny, and it’s succeeded in detecting sugar, salt, and alcohol. The team plans to refine the sensor to the point where it will be able to detect and measure all kinds of nutrients, and maybe even biochemicals too. “In theory we can modify the bioresponsive layer in these sensors to target other chemicals. We are really limited only by our creativity,” Omenetto said.

The promise of the quantified self

Once you’ve chosen the right diet for you, then, wearing a sensor like this could help you get your quantities spot-on, ideally helping you improve your diet and thus your overall health. The sensor is just the latest in a series of wearable devices springing from the quantified self movement—from Fitbits to smart watches, these data-harvesting gadgets all aim to give users increased awareness and thus increased control over their own health, ideally shifting healthcare norms from reactive to proactive, curative to preventative.

A small step forward

It’s important to note, though, that while sensors and similar tools could certainly prove useful, they’re just one small component on the vast landscape of improving our diet and our health.

A disproportionate amount of the food we eat, particularly in the US, is heavily processed; we’re eating more chemicals than we are nutrients. In addition, many low-income areas are classified as food deserts, not a head of broccoli or a bunch of bananas in sight. Before monitoring the contents of each bite of food you eat, you must have access to healthy foods in the first place, not to mention know what’s healthy and what isn’t.

Ideally, then, the tooth sensor and other health tech like it will be geared towards a wide range of users, not just those who’ve already tried going paleo. Or pescatarian. Or dairy-free. You get the idea.

Image Credit: SilkLab, Tufts University

This article originally appeared on Singularity Hub, a publication of Singularity University.

[post_title] => This tiny tooth sensor tracks what you eat, and it could help you be healthier [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => tooth-sensor-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-29 16:40:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-29 15:40:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=101936 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 70373 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2017-01-10 16:09:44 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-10 15:09:44 [post_content] => The episode ‘Fifteen Million Merits’ of the British TV series Black Mirror depicts a future world where everyone must cycle on exercise bikes to power their surroundings. This fiction could become reality with the latest concept by Italian design firm Carlo Ratti Associati. They envisioned a floating gym that harnesses human energy to sail down the Seine River in Paris.The Paris Navigating Gym serves as a transportation concept that aims to portray how human energy holds the potential to power vehicles in the future. Instead of touring people around in its beloved Bateaux Mouches ferry-like boat appearance, the gym boat sets out to inspire people to exercise more. “It’s fascinating to see how the energy generated by a workout at the gym can actually help to propel a boat. It provides one with a tangible experience of what lies behind the often abstract notion of ‘electric power” says Carlo Ratti.Besides generating energy from its occupants, who use ARTIS bikes and cross trainers to power the boat, the floating construction would be equipped with supplementary solar panels. It’s still in development, but the designers estimate to complete it within 18 months.Source: Inhabitat [post_title] => A Floating Gym in Paris [post_excerpt] => This floating gym harnesses human energy to sail down the Seine River in Paris. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => floating-gym-paris [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-01-12 13:18:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-01-12 12:18:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=70373/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 69352 [post_author] => 936 [post_date] => 2016-12-14 16:00:38 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-12-14 15:00:38 [post_content] => It has already been four years since we launched our bioengineered sneaker collection Rayfish Footwear. Therefore we present for the real sneaker heads amongst us, six new futuristic pieces of footwear to find out how you will walk into the future.Lacing for dummy’s - Nike HyperAdapt 1.0FY16_INNO_SNOWCAP_v2_HERO_RT_NoEarl_V1_hd_1600Say goodbye to your primary school shoe lacing diploma with Nike's HyperAdapt 1.0. Remember the iconic scene from Back to the Future II, where you saw a pair of self-lacing shoes? Nike had launched similar sneakers before, though none of them was able to do the magic lacing trick. After more than two decades of designing, the self-lacing shoe is a fact. With one single push on the button the power lacing starts, creating the ultimate fit for every foot.Walking on pineapples - Piñatexc4x2grjcgyblkse0t2ceDesigner Carmen Hijosa found herself indecisive. On the one hand she enjoyed working with leather, whereas on the other she couldn’t cope with the environmental impact of the material. Thus she started a material research to develop a more sustainable substitute, and found her solution in pineapple leaves. The long fibers of the leaves are converted into a new textile called Piñatex. The discovery of this bio leather did not go unnoticed as Puma, as well as Camper have already developed their first prototypes.Becoming a walking battery - Instep NanopowerSole-Shoe-Workbench-775x517Did you ever consider the amount of energy your soles generate while walking? Probably not, so the developers of InStep NanoPower did. Their shoe contains a special sole that harvests power from every step you make. And guess what, the electrical energy is strong enough to power your mobile devices, like your smartphone or tablet. Imagine the cut down on your energy bill, having your hyperactive four-year-old cousin wearing them daily.Buying your sense of direction - Lechal Haptic Footwear352312-lechal-footwear-1It is always fun to change your running track every once in a while. Though you might end up being lost, checking the location on your phone constantly. With Lechal shoes you will never lose track again. Before you leave home, you simply map out your route and while running the shoes tell you where to go. Vibrations in the left sole tell you to take the left corner and your right foot will be addressed to take a turn right. This technique was initially developed for visually impaired people, but the developers found that almost anyone could use an extra navigation tool.Designing for eight legs - Futurecraft Biofabricadidas-biosteel-synthetic-silk-1-537x403Instead of selling all time classics, Adidas produces a biodegradable reducement of your own global footprint. In collaboration with the German company AMSilk, they launched the Futurecraft Biofabric. These running shoes are made out of bioengineered spider silk, taking the strength of spiderswebs as their inspiration - making sure not one spider was involved during the production process. However, Adidas renamed their spider silk into biosteel; perhaps to overcome the arachnephobics amongst us.When feet replace the mind - Smart Shoe 001Digitsole-smartshoe-600With the purchase of a pair of Smart Shoes 001, you might end up confused whether it's a smartphone or a shoe. These sneakers are equipped with various technological features; from self-lacing to a build-in pedometer. It also tells you how much calories you burnt, and if that's not enough, the soles have a build in heating system. By way of a bluetooth connection you can change the settings of the shoes in one single app, which also records the statistics on your health. You could say the only disadvantage of these sneakers is that you still have to walk them yourself.Cover image: Coroflot [post_title] => The Next Nature Sneaker Series [post_excerpt] => We present for the real sneaker heads amongst us, six new futuristic pieces of footwear. Going from pineapple leather to self lacing 'Back to the Future' Nikes. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => next-nature-sneaker-series [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://nextnature.net/2015/07/marketing-the-oceans/ [post_modified] => 2016-12-17 11:56:58 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-12-17 10:56:58 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=69352 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 68589 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2016-11-23 10:21:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-11-23 09:21:18 [post_content] => Our bodies are not designed for a sedentary lifestyle, but in our technology-driven society we spend most of our days sitting down - in front of a computer, commuting to and from work, watching TV in the evening. That's why the latest creation of fashion designer and NNN fellow Pauline van Dongen is made to rehabilitate the body in case of bad posture and it is perfect to wear during office hours.fysiopal-pauline-van-dongenCalled FysioPal, it's a smart top to be worn as an undergarment that works like an augmented skin. It embeds haptic sensors that signal the user's body posture with a vibrating feedback. Through its integrated hardware, the shirt evaluates the position of neck, shoulders and back and sends the collected data to a smartphone app.fysiopal-pauline-van-dongenFysioPal is especially suited for those people who spend a substantial amount of time in a sedentary position. This smart top puts our physical wellbeing first and gently reminds that is not “natural” to sit in front of a computer screen eight hours a day.fysiopal-pauline-van-dongenPhotography by Wouter le Duc. Via Pauline van Dongen [post_title] => A Smart Top to Correct Body Posture [post_excerpt] => FysioPal is a smart top made to support and enhance the upper-body and posture. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => smart-top-corrects-figure [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-11-23 10:22:42 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-11-23 09:22:42 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=68589 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67009 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2016-09-12 16:09:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-12 14:09:18 [post_content] => The advent of activity-monitoring body trackers has enabled millions of people to track their physical stats with ease, but it also added another important aspect to it, fun. The addition of gaming elements to exercise made workouts more accessible and rewarding for people in need of help to reach their fitness goals. Therefore, industry leader Fitbit just released a new motivational feature, called Adventures. By unlocking virtual sightseeing, health tips and “fun facts” along the way, the fitness tracker aims to trigger their users to go out and exercise more.According to a press release from July 2016, Fitbit provides accurate real-time data that allows innovative study protocols to measure activity, sleep, and heart rate data over significant periods of time. One of their most popular activity features is Challenges, which lets users compare their steps with friends and families. The company says that such challenges increase the daily step count of 30 percent.However, in May 2016 a class action lawsuit against Fitbit was filed after a new study, which accused the company's popular heart rate trackers of being "highly inaccurate". The report revealed a miscalculation up to 20 heartbeats per minute on average. In response, the company argued the study was "biased" and lacked "scientific rigor".An earlier study by Ball State University in Indiana in February 2016 showed similar results, marking an error rate of 14 percent. "Calculating a heart rate that's off by 20 or 30 beats per minute can be dangerous - especially for people at high risk of heart disease" the report stated. Fitbit reacted to the study defending their apparatuses, saying their products "are designed to provide meaningful data to our users to help them reach their health and fitness goals, and are not intended to be scientific or medical devices".By releasing their latest feature, Fitbit extends the workout session with a virtual journey. By offering three virtual routes - that are good for 81.000 steps in total - these challenges aim to inspire their users by rewarding them with symbolic rewards. What is important to remember is that we should not depend too much on these commercial technologies, as studies are showing the collected data could be way off. Rather let’s just enjoy the experience as it is intended, for fun.Via Fitbit, CNBC [post_title] => Bringing Augmented Reality to Fitness [post_excerpt] => Fitbit just released a new motivational feature that aims to trigger their users to go out and exercise more. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => augmented-reality-fitness-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-20 10:23:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-20 08:23:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=65692 [menu_order] => 14 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 65507 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2016-08-30 15:57:59 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-08-30 13:57:59 [post_content] => During the Olympics in Rio, burger baron McDonald’s provided their Happy Meals with a high-tech toy, a pedometer. The wrist-worn wearable was marketed for youngsters as a way to help keep them active. Unfortunately, as good as it sounded, the activity tracker appeared to cause skin irritation, and so the company withdrew their toy.Obviously it was no coincidence that the fast food chain served their so-called Step-it wearable during the Olympics and the summer break. The company has been radically reinventing itself for years now, though the payoff remains uncertain. For the last few years, the chain has been branding the Happy Meal as a much healthier option, introducing fresh fruit and vegetables to the menu.According to McDonald’s Canada Senior Marketing Manager, Michelle McIImoyle, "Step-it is in line with McDonald’s general philosophy for Happy Meal toys, which is to make toys that encourage either physical or imagination-based play". She continues, "Physical activity is important to everyone of all ages. We very much support children's well-being". Let’s put this in retrospect: there are 539 calories in a McDonald's Happy Meal, meaning that the average 8-years-old would have to walk for 300 minutes to burn it off.In their latest company profile, the fast food chain aims “to become a modern, progressive burger company”. The Fitbit-inspired wearable is just one way to go. What would you consider an appropriate health toy for the restaurant chain?Sources: CityNews, Wareable. [post_title] => Fitness Tracker to Make Happy Meal Healthier [post_excerpt] => McDonald’s provided their Happy Meals with a high-tech activity tracker toy. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => power-happy-meal [to_ping] => [pinged] => https://nextnature.net/2016/08/the-olympic-abyss/ [post_modified] => 2016-08-29 22:28:40 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-08-29 20:28:40 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=65507 [menu_order] => 93 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 40329 [post_author] => 827 [post_date] => 2014-07-09 15:00:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-09 13:00:07 [post_content] => “The lines are going to blur, between therapy and enhancement. Between treatment and prevention and between need and desire.”  This is a quote by biophysicist and best-selling author Gregory Stock in his Ted Talk 'To Update is Human' from 2003. Eleven Years later we arrived to that predicted level with the habit forming device Pavlok. It is a bracelet that gives you electric shocks if you don't achieve the set goal. The designer, Maneesh Sethi, pledges an enhancement of your daily life by zapping yourself and changing thereby your old habits.The Pavlok bracelet will be launched via crowdfunding in September and it is planned to be sold for for 250$ in early 2015 to people who want to fulfill their dreams of eliminating procrastination and laziness. With this accessorize you'll never oversleep again or hesitate to open an unhealthy bag of chips."It sits on my wrist and at 6 am it'll vibrate. I can snooze it, but if I snooze it twice, it shocks me." Sethi explains. "I myself have lost 30lbs just doing this in the last few months, simply forcing myself to go and swipe the card at the gym ... and my friend can monitor my swiping the card at the gym." Maneesh Sethi is a blogger that reached internet fame when he hired a woman to give him a slap whenever he opens Facebook.

pavlok2

This concept of operant conditioning, also known as the Skinner box, was used to study animals behavior making use of electric shocks. According to studies positive reinforcements mostly works better than negative. Anyway, Pavlok uses also positive effects on the user: once the goal is assigned and completed, you get rewarded with incentives. If not, you get a mild schock. "The negative gets you started and the positive keeps the habit going" Sethi says. "As you start to succeed, you can take away the negative reinforcement and give positive reinforcement."Via Angel.co: "Pavlok combines accurate tracking capabilities, powerful commitment techniques, and ‘on-your-wrist’ reminder triggers to change users’ brains and form the habits they wish they had. Through our proprietary negative and positive reinforcement technique, Pavlok doesn’t simply nudge someone to change their behavior --- it pushes them to transform themselves and form the habit to maintain their transformation. (..) People are using Pavlok to form habits such as: exercising daily, learning German, writing daily, drinking more water."
Sethi's company has so far received $100,000 in investments for the development, with the crowdfunding will raise money to produce the first batch of wristbands.Source: Pavlok.com, Angel.co Related Post: How Biotech Will Drive Our Evolution
[post_title] => Shock Therapy for a Better Self [post_excerpt] => The Pavlok wristband gives its wearers an electric shock if they fail at hitting work deadlines or completing fitness goals. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => shock-therapy-for-a-better-self [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-07-09 15:48:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-07-09 13:48:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=40329 [menu_order] => 967 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 39665 [post_author] => 809 [post_date] => 2014-05-21 16:00:43 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-05-21 14:00:43 [post_content] => Researchers confirm that modern society technologies and comforts caused the decline of our overall strength. We don’t need science to realize our lifestyle is sedentary and not active enough. What we didn't know is that, compared to our ancestors, our body became weaker and less fit than it used to be 7.000 years ago.According to recent studies, human fitness has decreased so significantly in the last years that even the strongest sportsperson would consider ancient men to have a supernatural force.“Even our most highly trained athletes pale in comparison to these ancestors of ours. We’re certainly weaker than we used to be” explains Dr. Colin Shaw from Cambridge University. “We have an overabundance of nutrition and we train better, but we’re overweight and we’re not challenging our bodies like we used to.”Of course we do much, much less than our ancestors: our savanna is the supermarket and our working environment is the office.Physical activity decrease and bone strength decline reflect on our skeletons, leading to osteoporosis, obesity, and other problems and diseases. A solution could be working out like our ancestors. Hanging from a tree branch, throwing and catching cobblestones, barefoot climbing; the exercise of the future could be Paleolithic fitness!Source: Outside [post_title] => We Are Weaker Than Our Ancestors [post_excerpt] => Human fitness has decreased so significantly that even the strongest of us would consider ancient men to have a supernatural force. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => we-are-weaker-than-our-ancestors [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-05-21 16:29:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-05-21 14:29:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=39665 [menu_order] => 1010 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 36616 [post_author] => 815 [post_date] => 2013-10-15 11:00:57 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-10-15 09:00:57 [post_content] => Merry Lynn Morris is a dance professor at the University of South Florida. She is also an inventor. Morris believes that everyone should be able to dance, regardless of any physical disability, which is why she invented the Rolling Dance Chair. It is designed to disappear under the dancer with a clear seat, and it moves and rotates intuitively based on the dancer's  body movements. Morris says it is an extension of the dancer much like any other prop or equipment that they use, rather than a burden.Morris' father provided the inspiration behind the idea. When she was just 12 years old, her father Bill Morris was left paralyzed by a severe car crash. Throughout his recovery, she noticed how much he was stimulated by dancing, especially with her, but also how hard it was with his wheelchair.  The Rolling Dance Chair is the result of a long design process, numerous research grants and the interest of a number of universities and tech companies. Developer Neil Edmonston, from a company called Vertec, believes that this innovative new chair is the future of wheelchair design, and the next step towards making the conventional wheelchair a natural extension of the user for more than just dancing, which is exactly what Merry Lynn Morris wanted.For more information, read the full article by Stephanie Hayes at the Tampa Bay Times. [post_title] => The (Almost) Invisible Dancing Wheelchair [post_excerpt] => Designed by a dancer, a new wheelchair moves intuitively with the user's movements. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-almost-invisible-dancing-wheelchair [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2013-10-13 22:23:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2013-10-13 20:23:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=36616 [menu_order] => 1239 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 36004 [post_author] => 286 [post_date] => 2013-09-05 11:00:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2013-09-05 09:00:12 [post_content] => In South Korea, the global epicenter of plastic surgery, a newly popular form of augmentation is the "liptail". Originally invented to help middle-aged folks reverse the downturned lips brought on by aging, this surgery is reportedly being adopted by the younger set to permanently create a cute, cheerful smile. While most opt for a more subtle lift, some girls go for the full-on duckface. Unlike other surgeries that merely change the body's form, this one permanently alters its expression – perhaps an effort to be more happy by looking more happy.Via Kotaku. [post_title] => Feeling Sad? Ladies in Korea Go Under the Knife for a Perma-Smile [post_excerpt] => Surgery for a cute, cheerful duckface – permanently. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => feeling-sad-ladies-in-korea-go-under-the-knife-for-a-perma-smile [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2015-03-04 17:52:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2015-03-04 16:52:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=36004 [menu_order] => 1282 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 101936 [post_author] => 1790 [post_date] => 2018-12-28 16:34:40 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-12-28 15:34:40 [post_content] =>

The South Beach diet. The Atkins diet. Eating paleo. Cutting out gluten. Going vegan. The list of fad diets and health crazes goes on, yet health statistics in the US and around the world show that most people still don’t know what to eat, or when, or how much.

New research from Tufts University’s engineering school has created a product that may be able to help: a sensor worn on users’ teeth that wirelessly transmits data about food intake to a smartphone app.

In a paper published in March in the journal Advanced Materials, the Tufts team deconstructed the sensor. It’s made of a porous silk film or a hydrogel that responds to changes in pH or temperature—the active layer—sandwiched between two square-shaped gold outer panels. The sensor’s middle layer detects chemicals and nutrients, reacting to different inputs with a shift in its electrical properties. That shift causes the sensor to transmit a different spectrum and intensity of radio frequency waves back to the app.

The future of the bioresponsive sensor

Fiorenzo Omenetto, a biomedical engineering professor at Tufts and co-author of the study, said, “We have extended common RFID [radio frequency ID] technology to a sensor package that can dynamically read and transmit information on its environment, whether it is affixed to a tooth, to skin, or any other surface.”

Measuring just two millimeters on each side, the sensor is impressively tiny, and it’s succeeded in detecting sugar, salt, and alcohol. The team plans to refine the sensor to the point where it will be able to detect and measure all kinds of nutrients, and maybe even biochemicals too. “In theory we can modify the bioresponsive layer in these sensors to target other chemicals. We are really limited only by our creativity,” Omenetto said.

The promise of the quantified self

Once you’ve chosen the right diet for you, then, wearing a sensor like this could help you get your quantities spot-on, ideally helping you improve your diet and thus your overall health. The sensor is just the latest in a series of wearable devices springing from the quantified self movement—from Fitbits to smart watches, these data-harvesting gadgets all aim to give users increased awareness and thus increased control over their own health, ideally shifting healthcare norms from reactive to proactive, curative to preventative.

A small step forward

It’s important to note, though, that while sensors and similar tools could certainly prove useful, they’re just one small component on the vast landscape of improving our diet and our health.

A disproportionate amount of the food we eat, particularly in the US, is heavily processed; we’re eating more chemicals than we are nutrients. In addition, many low-income areas are classified as food deserts, not a head of broccoli or a bunch of bananas in sight. Before monitoring the contents of each bite of food you eat, you must have access to healthy foods in the first place, not to mention know what’s healthy and what isn’t.

Ideally, then, the tooth sensor and other health tech like it will be geared towards a wide range of users, not just those who’ve already tried going paleo. Or pescatarian. Or dairy-free. You get the idea.

Image Credit: SilkLab, Tufts University

This article originally appeared on Singularity Hub, a publication of Singularity University.

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