The New York Times Magazine this week features a wireless “tooth tattoo” developed at Princeton that detects harmful bacteria.

The sliver-thin device — made of silk, graphene, and a tiny antenna — is applied to the tooth much like a child’s stick-on tattoo. It can detect bacteria associated with not just cavities but, perhaps more important, diseases elsewhere in the body. The researchers have already used it to identify bacteria associated with stomach ulcers and some cancers.

The Times included the tattoo in a piece featuring “32 Innovations That Will Change Your Tomorrow.” See the full piece here (the tooth tattoo is invention is #23).

The Times isn’t the only media outlet enraptured with the potential of the tooth tattoo.

Read more coverage in IEEE Spectrum, the Daily Mail, Gizmowatch, the Trenton Times, and the New York Daily News.

The research was reported March 27 in the journal Nature Communications.The paper’s Princeton authors included Michael McAlpine, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Naveen Verma, assistant professor of electrical engineering, graduate student Manu Mannoor, undergraduate Jefferson Clayton, and associate research scholar Amartya Sengupta at Princeton. Co-authors included Hu Tao, David Kaplan and Fiorenzo Omenetto of Tufts University and Rajesh Naik of the Air Force Research Laboratory.

Support for the research was provided by the American Asthma Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. A full account of the research can be found here.

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