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Grinding teeth for a good cause

Japanese researchers look to harness the jawbone's energy.

Midwest Magic

Forget about brain waves--the next biometric remote control may come from your mouth.

Researchers at Osaka University are trying to produce something positive from the irritating habit of grinding one's teeth, according to Digital World Tokyo. So far, the Japanese scientists have limited their experiments to a "simple switching system" that's linked to the often-unconscious act of molar-crunching, developing infrared sensors that can detect the motion of jaw and head muscles involved. Their contraption determines whether true grinding is taking place and, if it is, the system turns a CD player on and off accordingly.

Eventually, researchers hope that their work in detecting dental patterns will be used for such actions as controlling electric wheelchairs. We ask that they then turn their attention to fingernails scraping a blackboard.