Thursday, 20 June, 2002, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK

Put your mobile where your mouth is
That ringing in your ear could be your phone

Soon you could be swapping your mobile phone for a molar phone.
Royal College of Art students in London have developed a phone that fits inside a tooth.

The concept device picks up signals with a radio receiver and uses a tiny vibrating plate to convey them as sound along the jawbone to a person’s ear.

The designers said the mini-molar phone could be implanted in a tooth during routine dental surgery.

The prototype phone is the work of graduates James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau and forms part of the Royal College of Art’s annual summer exhibition.

Known as The Show, this exhibition shows off the best ideas of the current crop of RCA designers and students.

Bits and bites

Currently, the tooth phone is only a mock-up and lacks the communications chip to actually turn it into a functioning device.

Mr Auger said the technology to turn it into a working device already existed and it would be a simple matter to build the relevant chips into the gadget.

The designers speculate that, if the tooth phone becomes a working device, it could be used by stock traders to receive up-to-the-moment information about share prices or to help football managers communicate quickly with players during key matches.

However, the existing design is only supposed to help stimulate debate about future wearable computing devices and to help explore the social and cultural ramifications of in-body technology.

The tooth phone is on show at the Science Museum in London from the 21 June to November.

Development of the device was funded by the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts as part of a collaboration between the Science Museum and the Royal College of Art.

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