Getting your child to brush their pearly whites can feel like… well, pulling teeth. But this Futuristic Toothbrush Makes Early Dental Health A Lot More Fun!
Parents, teachers, and those in the medical field know that a child's early years play a key role in their adult development. In fact, the birth-to-three period has the fastest rate of brain development across the entire human lifespan. That time is also an important period for oral health, as this is often when good habits are formed. That said, getting your child to brush their pearly whites can feel like… well, pulling teeth. But a new smart toothbrush might be able to change that. Its aim: to make brushing teeth a lot more fun.
The Kolibree Magik is bright and colorful to look at, but its appearance is just the tip of the iceberg. The smart toothbrush uses motion tracking, computer vision technology, and any smartphone's front-facing camera to connect with an augmented reality gaming app called Magik Mirror. During the course of the AR game, your child will need to defeat an evil monster (in their choice of 15 different worlds) who wants to spread cavities all across the land. They'll need to brush their teeth and move around to shoot bubbles at the monster, who runs across the screen throughout the game. When kids achieve their brushing goals, they're rewarded with stickers and Magik Masks.
The creators have thought of a lot — for example, the game can be played only up to three times a day to prevent over-brushing and parents are sent data about their child's brushing activities each time the game is played — but there may still be more improvements that need to be made. For example, holding an expensive smartphone in one hand and a toothbrush in the other is a bit tough (and it may not be ideal for many parents). A rep from Kolibree has said that in the future, they might explore developing a smart mirror for game play to eliminate the smartphone component.
The Magik smart toothbrush is set to release later this year. According to a company rep, the gadget would be made available for “under $30” a pop. That may seem pricey to some families, but the cost is more affordable than a cavity filling. So if it works, it could be a good investment. And considering that 99.7% of adults surveyed by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry feel that having a healthy smile is socially important, a toothbrush with a built-in game could help form lifelong habits that lead to success.
Kolibree's device isn't the first to try to convince kids to brush by utilizing something a bit more fun. A company called Grush created a toothbrush back in 2014 that used a motion sensor and a corresponding mobile game app. But that toothbrush didn't use augmented reality to provide real-time brushing footage. Kolibree may have zeroed in on a missing component — to involve kids themselves and make sure they're actually brushing correctly — with their invention. Kolibree was even named a CES 2018 Innovation Award honoree for their device. But whether it actually improves oral health or even flies off the shelves remains to be seen.