Dental braces get smart

-By Francesca Serra

Muhammad Hussain, associate Professor of electrical engineering at the Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Science and Engineering Division of KAUST, recently developed a new dental brace technology that can straighten teeth faster and more effectively than actual products. The orthodontic system was designed to induce faster bone regeneration and to enhance protection of the enamel. 

According to Hussain and his team, the technology is going to introduce a paradigm shift in orthodontic treatments "The integration of high performance inorganic mechanically conformable and flexible electronic components is on the verge of changing healthcare forever," said Hussain. "The development of high-performance electronics will be critical to pave the way for personalized advanced healthcare where wearable and implantable devices will be produced at a fraction of today's price." 

The project proposed by Hussain's team presents a highly effective integration strategy for an optoelectronic system developed from chip-scale battery module with die level near infrared light emitting diode (NIR-LED) arrays (a turn-on voltage of 1.8 V, 640 nm wavelength) embedded in a 3D printed dental brace.

"Even if the device represents only a proof of concept, we envision that this system will be able to provide, in the future, a groundwork for accelerated phototherapy. A multi-task device, working on the preservation of the dental aesthetics, on the mastication functionality, and eventually lowering the overall dental health care cost," added Hussain.

Professor Muhammad Hussain is also the Director of the KAUST Integrated Nanotechnology Lab that investigates innovative ways of building physical electronics for the new era of Internet of Everything (IoE). The applications of his laboratory range from big data to cloud computation, cyber-physical systems, and augmented reality.