Are you ready and waiting to brush your teeth in front of — and with the assistance of — your smartphone? Oral-B thinks you are and has already shown off what might be the world’s first smart toothbrush at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Get ready to be whelmed.
The IoT revolution has brought us a lot of out-of-the-box products to fit in with our new life of upgrades that include WiFi connections, all sorts of sensors and the obligatory app that can control everything. It might have been a matter of time before we got smacked across our not-so-pearly whites with a digital toothbrush. But it could have been that our enthusiasm for this was just like floss: We need it, even if we don’t want to admit it. But, do we really need the pomp and circumstance for a toothbrush?
We took a brief look at Oral-B’s foray into smart homes to see if we really needed a Bluetooth to battle cavities.
Big brusher? A camera that tracks your brushing
Oral-B says Genius‘s numerous sensors are necessary to analyze the effectiveness of your brush job. Its central feature is a “sort of GPS” that follows the position of your toothbrush in real, um, brush-time. It makes sure the user didn’t leave any tooth uncovered, no gum untouched. To activate that feature, Oral-B has implanted an accelerometer inside the brush itself while the camera sticks to the mirror and watches your tooth-brushing journey.
Oral-B’s representative on site told us that users need to get used to the idea of brushing with their phones. While Hila Haimovich and I said we didn’t see this being the product for us, Oral-B’s man on the scene said that with 75% of people bringing their phones to the bathroom on a regular basis already, it would just be a matter of habit. Meh.
We rinsed over his marketing pitches while we tried out the brush.
From the moment we hit thistle to enamel, the app tracked our every oral move (you know what we mean). For the most effective brush, the app told us to give a good 30 seconds of attention to each quarter of the mouth, but it also told us to move on after about 15. Like a starship moving through space, we switched quadrants at light speed. But if we put too much pressure on our gums or teeth, a light went on to tell us to pull back. The app is gamified, so at least users can try to score their brushing and track their brushing abilities over time.
Oral-B told Geektime they will launch the smartbrush sometime around July. They didn’t give us any estimate on price, but expect it to be in the neighborhood of $200-$300 based on the going rate for their other advanced products.
It’s interesting seeing how innovation is touching every aspect of our lives, including dental tech, but it might not be something the world really needs. Now, we know what you’re thinking.
Still, after our little test we reached the conclusion that not everything under the sun needed to be connected or have an app, even if it is just a chip of your Bluetooth.