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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Telephone Tooth' Brings Mobile Into Your Mouth

LONDON -- Tired of losing your cellphone? Having other people listen in on your conversations? What about all the times you've had to turn it off at public events or leave it behind while swimming?

Two British inventors last week unveiled a prototype of a device that could solve all those problems with mobile phones. There's only one drawback: Your dentist would have to install this thing inside one of your molars.

Unofficially known as the "telephone tooth," the device would allow you to receive phone calls, listen to music, even connect to verbal sites on Internet without anyone nearby hearing a thing.

"It felt strange. It was weird," said 8-year-old Caitlin Caddies, who tried the prototype Friday at the Science Museum in London. "But I'd be delighted to have it if it would allow my friends to call me at night while I was in bed without my parents knowing.

"Would it hurt when the dentist put it in?" she asked.

James Auger, 31, and his partner, Jimmy Loizeau, 34, developed the device while enrolled in a master's program at the Royal College of Art in London on the way technology is used today.

So far, no company has announced that it is making the device. But Auger and Loizeau have moved to Dublin, Ireland, to work with the Media Lab Europe in Ireland, a partner of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology program that studies experimental uses of technology.

Theoretically, the device would allow spies to receive instructions secretly or athletes to hear from their coaches while on the field.

Other beneficiaries could include stock investors who want to receive buy or sell orders from their brokers 24 hours a day and sports fanatics who want to be informed the moment their team wins or loses.

However, the device, also known as the "molar mobile," would not allow people to make outgoing calls.

Auger said the "telephone tooth" is just another instrument designed to help people better cope with existing technology: like the flight suits developed to allow pilots make tight turns in high-speed warplanes without blacking out.

The "telephone tooth" would place a small device in a person's back molar that includes a wireless, low-frequency receiver and a gadget that turns audio signals into mechanical vibrations, which would pass from the tooth directly to the inner ear as clear sounds.

On Friday, people lined up at the Science Museum to try out a prototype of the "telephone tooth," which is officially known as the audio tooth implant.

The crude imitation of the device included a walkie-talkie and a plastic cocktail stick that users placed in their mouths to receive vibrations in their molars.

"The sound was surprisingly clear, but 10 years from now, we'll probably find out that the phone implant causes throat cancer," said Kiaron Hunt, 25, a tourist from Sydney, Australia.

"But I guess we're heading for a high-tech world where everyone's on the go all the time. Maybe we won't be able to do without such tools."