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Content archived on 2024-05-27

Intelligent micro-sensor, electro-actuated, stimulator of SALIvary glands


Saliwell will develop a technology that will obviate the serious medical, psychological, and social privations and distress caused by insufficient saliva production, especially in the aging, e.g. denture maladhesion, difficulties with chewing, swallowing and speaking, mouth malodour, and more. The technology is based on an automatic, remote controllable, self-correcting, electronic saliva-stimulating system residing in a dental implant. This leading-edge technology will restore salivation by constantly monitoring (micro-sensors) oral parameters and by automatic, medication-free, correction. It will comprise micro-sensors, micro actuators, software and an intuitive - but controllable - interactive interface. The system's proper functioning and safety will be validated in elderly patients from several European communities, to assess the overall impact on their rehabilitation, quality of life and social interaction.

The objectives are to:
a. Develop an effective and adverse side-effect free, electro-stimulation based therapy for dry-mouth in elderly patients;
b. Identify most suitable parameters for salivary gland nerves stimulation;
c. Investigate suitable micro-sensoring methods to identify required stimulation timing and levels;
d. Identify special physiological and other requirements of the ageing population regarding xerostomia, and the unique functional adjustments to be incorporated into the Saliwell technology;
e. Design and produce a fully functional intelligent miniaturised prototype device (tooth crown sized) fitting the needs of the ageing population and conforming to European specifications and regulations;
f. Disseminate the know-how generated to European dental professionals and to the aged citizens to promote exploitation of the technology.

Work description:
To identify optimal parameters for stimulation of salivation, and the proper methodology for sensing the need for it, a preliminary mountable device with external electronics will be tried in volunteers. Once these variables are defined, and safety and biocompatibility of the device is checked, a miniaturised, implant supported prototype (comprising micro-sensors, micro-actuators, software, a controllable but intuitive interactive interface, a tiny long-life battery and a communication system) for evaluation in various groups of aged Europeans from different countries will be designed, constructed and tested on animals and human volunteers. A programmable algorithm for maintaining and modifying the sequence of stimulation, by remote control, will be developed. The prototype will be tested in mostly elderly individuals with "dry-mouth" syndrome. This will enable to adjust the technology for the targeted population and gather user acceptance and recommendations. The findings and methodology of this innovative technology will be distributed throughout European professional groups, and disseminated to associations of elderly citizens and to various organs that care for the aged. European manufacturers will define technological and engineering parameters to facilitate speedy exploitation of the technology.

The major milestones of the project are:
M2.1 - M2.6 - completion of specifications, protocols & methodology - month 3;
M3.2 - completion of very low power, miniature sensing device, first prototype - month 10;
M 4 - fully functional software - month 12;
M6 - completion of personal remote controller and electro-stimulator - month 16;
M9.1 - completion of 100 prototype specimens - month 26;
M10.1 - completion of final prototype specimens - month 29.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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62748 TEL AVIV

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Total cost
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Participants (9)