For two and a half years, my bruxism symptoms were manageable. After I stopped wearing the early grind control device in August/September 2013, my symptoms continued to steadily improve. Not completely gone, but most days I felt completely normal, without headaches or dizziness, and no pain or muscle tension while chewing. The symptoms would occasionally come back sometimes occasionally, for example I would feel tension in the morning for a few hours.
I knew my bruxism was not gone, because of these occasional flare-ups, and because I was told I sometimes grind my teeth at night, sometimes right after falling asleep. I also strongly suspected some medication would significantly worsen my night-time bruxism, particularly fluticasone/salmeterol (brand name: Seretide). I only use this medication a few times a year, for a few days, when my airways are irritated, but every single time, it makes my bruxism kick into full gear. Looking back, it’s not a coincidence that the extreme symptoms appeared end of 2010/early 2011, at a time when I was using the asthma inhaler for a good six months stretch.
Most recently, during a weekend trip to Taiwan, I felt the kind of dizziness in the morning that I can only attribute to bruxism. I am almost certain it must have been due to increased teeth grinding the nights before, but I had no way of proving that. An idea started forming in my head to build a new device, comfortable and convenient enough to wear every night, which could alert me to this sort of situation. Taiwan is a huge semiconductor manufacturer and some billboards advertise this in the airport. So my mind was on electronics.
Besides keeping in touch with the fine folks on the Bruxhackers Mailing List, I hadn’t touched any electronics, hadn’t powered up any microcontrollers or held a soldering iron in the last two years. I loaded up Sparkfun.com to see what’s new and came across this little gem:
The Particle Photon is an Arduino-compatible, wifi-enabled dev board, made to work seamlessly with the Particle Cloud. In short, you can call a REST API to invoke a function on the Photon, or query a particular variable value, without worrying about network connectivity behind a router, or setting up an internet-facing server. Firmware flashing happens over the internet as well. This seemed like a perfect platform to build a bruxism-tracking device on. With the previous grind control device, I always felt like I was running blind. I couldn’t see in realtime what the EMG value was, because the only way of outputting data was connecting to the USB/serial port, and that wasn’t compatible with the EMG sensor, which had to be electrically isolated.
With the grind control device, at every development cycle, I had to take the microSD card out, copy the data over, process it, and start over. This was extremely time consuming. The new device definitely had to be Wireless. Additionally, I had to charge 2x 9V batteries every single day, and replace the old ones.
Objectives for the new device:
- Wireless: for every day usage, it’s too much of a hassle to have to disassemble and take the microSD card out.
- On-board battery charging: it should charge by plugging in a USB cable, just like every modern gadget.
- Controllable from a smartphone: because the device is small, and worn against the user’s head, it doesn’t have an LCD display. But it should relay information back to a mobile device, smartphone or tablet.
- Comfortable: it should be comfortable enough to wear every night. This means the size should be small, and there shouldn’t be a lot of wires sticking out.
An essential component in an anti-bruxism device is the EMG (Electromyography) sensor. The grind control device used the http://www.advancertechnologies.com/ Muscle Sensor V3. It just so happened that they released a new version, the Myoware Sensor right around the time I set out to build a new device.
The Myoware has a number of advantages:
- Doesn’t require a dual power supply: can be powered from a +3.3V input
- Has electrode snaps directly on the PCB, which makes wires short and as a result is less susceptible to interference.
- Very small in size: can be stuck directly on the face.
It seems like a perfect fit for this project. Sparkfun has released a number of shields for the Photon which I can also directly use. Here are the building blocks for the new device:
- Particle Photon: microcontroller and WIFI
- Myoware sensor: EMG sensor
- Sparkfun Battery Shield: LIPO battery charging and battery gauge
- Sparkfun IMU Shield: 3-axis accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer, to track movements during sleep.
As a first step, a PCB must be designed that regroups all of these elements onto one board. The Myoware sensor will be external, connected using a short cable.
Check back soon for updates !Do you have questions about this project ?
Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org @SleepTrackIO sleeptrackio
Project GoalsTo build an open-source wearable device and associated cloud services designed to analyze sleep bruxism and condition the wearer out of bruxism using biofeedback techniques.
Current Status 2016/12/18
- Changed approach to accelerometer/IMU only solution
- Built Phase 3 prototype with battery charging and IMU.
- Using a chin sensor to detect jaw movement.
- Device firmware working stably.
- Backend servers (collecting data from device) stable, deployed in a docker instance.
- InfluxDB and Grafana instances deployed.
- Angular front-end allows user to interact with device, start realtime mode, or night mode and view nightly stats.