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Incredible New Tooth Tattoos Will Screen Your Breath for Sickness

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Tattoos of the future: They’ll vibrate when you get a phone call, check your glucose, glow when your blob-like alien allies are contacting you — and will actually be able to check your breath and saliva for bacteria-borne illness.

How does it work? A sensor made of super-sensitive, one-atom-thick graphene tattooed to your teeth and coated with amino acids can pick up individual bacteria “like velcro,” Co.Exist’s Nidhi Subbaraman writes.

“It takes only a few bacteria to make you sick,” says Mike McAlpine, a graphene man at Princeton. “It’s something you want to be able to detect as quickly as possible and in very small concentrations.” He says the sensors could not only tell you when you’re sick, but what kind of illness is affecting you, and that this technology could especially come in handy in war zones.

And the implications are enormous for the illness-prone, hospital-phobes, those with compromised immune systems and more. A near-immediate diagnosis before the body even begins to struggle is a significant medical game-changer.

Best of all, it’s also not really a tattoo. There’s no gun involved: The graphene is transfered onto the teeth from an evaporating silk sheet, more like a temporary tattoo. The process is painless.

The next challenge will be shrinking the technology down so it actually fits on a human tooth. Their original test subject: a cow chomper.
 


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