We’re getting that much closer to the merging of man with machine. Princeton University researcher Michael McAlpine has developed a technique wherein a graphene sensor can be attached to a human tooth, detecting bacteria in the area and sending that single to a wireless receiver.
Before you start reaching for your tinfoil hat, realize that this research is still quite early and even McAlpine himself isn’t sure what the ultimate commercial application will be. The demonstration is with a human tooth and it’s the first time that the sensor has been “interfaced directly with biological tissue,” but it could just as easily be applied to other surfaces too.
A silk-graphene “tattoo” is attached to the tooth and then it is rinsed with water to dissolve the silk support. The ultra-thin circuitry remains and it is then ammended with bifunctional peptides and naturally occurring antimicrobial proteins (AMPs). A small electric field is modulated in the presence of bacteria and an RFID reader can then pick up on these signals and the bacterial concentration can then be determined.
I imagine there are some interesting medical applications that could come out of this research, but as always, further study is required.