Medicine is a field in which high technologies are entering at an accelerated pace. In confirmation of this trend, an innovative company has created a chip that is placed on the teeth to monitor more than 1000 important indicators of human health.
Silicon Labs has developed miniature xG27 chips that are energy-efficient enough for medical applications. Placed together with a special sensor on one of a person’s teeth, such a chip can continuously monitor the characteristics of saliva – this allows constant monitoring of health indicators and can prevent many diseases.
The xG27 family of single-chip platforms includes the BG27 and MG27 models. Both are based on the Arm Cortex M33 core and differ in that the BG27 uses Bluetooth and the MG27 transmits data via Zigbee and other wireless protocols. The area of the chips is 2-5 mm².
It is important to note that the BG27 is already used in practice – as a sensor integrated in the tooth. Medical device maker Lura Health says it tested the chip for diagnostic purposes. The sensor is so small that it can be attached to a tooth to continuously monitor over 1,000 parameters of saliva.
Until now, many similar projects have been thwarted by the complicated certification process from US regulators, but in this case, Lura Health says it has completed clinical trials with UConn Orthodontics and is now awaiting approval for the technology from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If all goes according to plan, the product will hit the market in the next 12-18 months.
There are other promising applications for the Silicon Labs chipset – in the role of smart medical patches, sensors for continuous monitoring of blood sugar levels or wearable ECG equipment.
One of the main advantages of the chip is the ability to use low voltage – down to 0.8V and switch to “storage mode”, which reduces the drain of energy from the battery during transportation and storage in the warehouse.