Innovative Sensors Track the Link Between Diet and Health

By Meenu Johnkutty ‘21

Figure 1. A new biosensor developed by engineers at Tufts University can track real time information about diet.

Researchers from the Tufts University School of Engineering are leading the way with a new sensor that collects real time data on diet straight from the mouth itself. The research team, led by Dr. Peter Tseng, is set to publish their research in the journal Advanced Materials.

The sensor looks almost too futuristic to be a part of our time. Approximately four squared millimeters in size and easily mountable on the surface of the tooth, the sensor is much less burdensome than prior models of biosensors. This biosensor is made up of three layers. The outer layers consist of gold particles, while the inner layer contains the primary bioresponsive layer that absorbs the nutrients of ingested food and relays the information. This data is transmitted as radiofrequency signals that can be collected by a mobile device: the varying components within the various solutes in food cause a range of electrical responses. and each nutrient elicits a different electrical response within the sensor. Presently, the layer’s responses are limited to glucose, salt, and alcohol intake; however, future innovation will likely increase the range of solutes that can be analyzed.

This novel sensor is both groundbreaking and practical. Previous apparatuses for such data collection, wracked with wires that protruded from the sensor, were too bulky to be comfortably worn within the mouth; in this prototype, data can be streamlined straight from the mouth to mobile devices. Furthermore, monitoring in “real time” can more accurately generate a profile regarding the individual’s diet. The researchers hope to develop this biosensor to lend more information about chemical and physiological states within the body.



  1. P. Tseing, Functional, RF‐trilayer sensors for tooth‐mounted, wireless monitoring of the oral cavity and food consumption. Advanced Materials (2018). doi: 10.1002/adma.201703257.
  2. Image retrieved from:

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