Philadelphia – Penn Dental Medicine’s Dr. Michel Koo, Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Center for Innovation & Precision Dentistry (CiPD), was among a panel of researchers, engineers, and business founders invited to be part of a recent Trailblazers with Walter Isaacson Podcast titled “Dentistry: An Oral History of Disruption.”
Dr. Koo shared findings from one of his recent studies conducted in collaboration with Penn’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, which showed that a shapeshifting robotic microswarm can brush and floss teeth.
The building blocks of these microrobots are iron oxide nanoparticles that have both catalytic and magnetic activity. Using a magnetic field, researchers could direct their motion and configuration to form either bristlelike structures that sweep away dental plaque from the broad surfaces of teeth, or elongated strings that can slip between teeth like a length of floss.
“The design of the toothbrush has remained relatively unchanged for millennia,” says Koo. “We have this technology that’s as or more effective as brushing and flossing your teeth but doesn’t require manual dexterity. We’d love to see this helping the geriatric population and people with disabilities. We believe it will disrupt current modalities and majorly advance oral health care.”