a simple tootbrush made of metal and hairs

The Smart Toothbrush Has Arrived

I remember when the Reach toothbrush came out. This was the first human factors innovation in dental hygiene, at least that I can think of (I am certainly no dental historian). Prior to that, I imagine there were many materials science improvements in bristle firmness and handle hygiene and so on, but the general user-product interface has been the same since at least Napoleon. Even the electric toothbrush was pretty much the same design and shape, just with the motion added. Bending the handle to improve wrist posture and rear molar access was a new direction (pun intended).

And now that we are solidly in the Internet Age, it is of course time to take toothbrushes in that direction as well. Take a look at this Kolibree toothbrush (or maybe toothbrush system?).

Bluetooth technology, an accelerometer, a gyrometer and a magnetometer are usually technologies you’d expect in another talking device: a smartphone. But now you can have it all for your teeth and gums. The new Kolibree connected electric toothbrush combines the power of a sonic motor with the brain of a smart gadget.

It brings together the quantified self, the Internet of Things, gamification, all of the current buzzwords. But my question is . . . . . is any of this really necessary?

Image credit: “Napoleon’s toothbrush, c 1795” by Mrjohncummings used under CC BY-SA 2.0

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