Is this the next step in portable music technology? Or maybe the next big thing in fashion? Probably not. But it is incredibly impractical, and pretty funny: an artist at Parsons The New School for Design in New York has created Play-A-Grill, a jeweled frontpiece for your teeth that actually plays music inside your head.
It looks a little like a retainer on drugs, but the Play-A-Grill actually conceals a fully-functional MP3 player. Music from the device is transmitted via vibrations in the teeth that pass through the skull to reach the eardrum, so there's no need for headphones. And users can control the device with their tongue: basic controls - forward and back and volume - are located in the roof of the mouthpiece.
Creator Aisen Caro Chacin says the invention "challenges our perception of listening, altering the body's natural sound output and relocating it as an input". She built it by connecting a vibrating motor to an MP3 player's headphone jack, and then making a mold of her upper palate to create the fitted mouthpiece.
The Play-A-Grill isn't actually the first attempt at a mouth implant that plays sounds inside people's heads - in 2001, Augier-Lozier started work on the Audio Tooth Implant, a replacement tooth that could function as a telephone and audio device. It never went into production, but Time Magazine named it one of the best inventions of 2002.
Chacin presented her creation at a New Interfaces for Musical Expression conference last week. At this point, there are no plans to mass-produce the Play-A-Grill.
Related stories on Strombo.com: