Connected Objects Kids/Babies Video Games

Playbrush uses interactive gaming to get kids to brush their teeth

Many parents with small kids know how hard it can be to convince some children to brush their teeth regularly, and to do it well.

Playbrush is a device that attaches to the end of any conventional toothbrush, transforming the brush into an interactive game controller that can be used in conjunction with iOS (and later Android) mobile devices. When the user starts the app on their smartphone or tablet, the gadget will automatically connect to it via Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart) technology. Playbrush costs $72 and will ship in December. Its maker is hoping to raise $51,887 by May 9.

Playbursh is a device with potential, especially for parents of young kids who either try and avoid brushing altogether or race through the process in just a few seconds. Turning brushing into a fun activity might very well be the trick to get at least some of them to change their ways. That said, it’s impossible to tell from the Kickstarter campaign video just how strong the initial game itself is. If it’s just one weak repetitive game, those kids may very well get bored after a week or two and parents will be left with the same problem they started with. To address this potential problem, the device’s maker plans to add multiple worlds, levels and characters.


Health and Wellness

Goodwell toothbrush wants you to open wide for an open source mouth care kit

Like most products made by huge companies, toothbrushes aren’t designed with sustainability in mind. Usually made from non-biodegradable plastic and having to be replaced at least three to four times a year makes the item a prime polluter. On average, all this adds up to 12 pounds of waste per person or 80 billion pounds worldwide, annually. In an era of increased ecological awareness, this simply won’t do.

Goodwell is looking to do its part in reducing this unnecessary pollution by offering a sleek, modern toothbrush that functionally provides everything necessary to do so. The hybrid toothbrush, tongue scraper, and flosser is made from medical grade aluminum for strength, sport charcoal bristles and binchotan to more effectively fight plaque and clean teeth, and all of its attachments are made from bamboo composite which are fully compostable. Those attachments are open source as well: by releasing their CADs for their attachments, Goodwell is letting users create any kind of attachment they want, like chopsticks or forks and knives. There’s even a small compartment at the bottom of the brush to hold items like aspirin or spare bills.

The brush is a two-part proposition in that you can buy the kit itself with the option of subscribing to their delivery service. This entitles users to receive a new brush head every month along with a product from a collaborator like Maak soap or Marvin toothpaste for an additional $79 a year. Although it may seem like a hefty initial cost, new brush heads every month for that price comes out cheaper than buying a new toothbrush every month and the brush heads are at least biodegradable. If you want to spring for just the toothbrush, though, that will only run $69.  Goodwell is looking for an $12,500 infusion to begin manufacturing by the 26th.

Health and Wellness

Issa fancy electric toothbrush is what it is

The Premise. A trip to the local superstore will confirm that we have too many options when it comes to selecting a toothbrush. While most of us prefer the traditional “manual” implement which also offers more superhero themed designs, some of us have gone electric (boogey woogey woogey) to satisfy our brushing needs.

The Product. Issa is a toothbrush created by the Foreo Institute in Sweden. Throwing traditional concepts out the window and focusing strictly on performance, it was designed to revolutionize the electric toothbrush with new material, function and form.

The Pitch. The campaign video explains that in 60 years electric toothbrushes have not drastically improved and have failed to convert most “manual” toothbrush users. Seeing an opportunity to create a better electric toothbrush, Foreo developed Issa and Issa Mini to overcome problems like abrasive bristles, non-ergonomic brush heads, short battery life, and more. The campaign page explains why its silicone material, unique design and new functionality make Issa superior to both manual toothbrushes and today’s electric brushes. We also learn that Issa Mini is intended for kids use or as a travel brush – it features parental controls which ensure kids brush every 12 hours and shows a happy face once its user has successfully brushed for two minutes. While we learn that Issa was unveiled at CES 2014 and has been featured in a number of publications, the campaign page lacks endorsements from dental authorities.

The Perks. Many levels of support for backers include both a beta tester and first edition level. For $199 you can become either a Beta tester or a first edition recipient with Beta testers receiving the product a month in advance of the others with a commitment to provide feedback to help refine the design in time for first edition users to benefit. For those with serious green to drop on their pearly whites, you can order a Gold or Platinum personalized edition Issa for $2,000 or $3,000 respectively.

The Potential. With the interest garnered so far by major publications, it’s no doubt that Issa has potential in the market and that the toothbrush paradigm could use a little shaking up. It would be ideal if Issa partnered with a known dental organization to bring a little more credibility from dental authorities vs. scientists who have determined reasons this brush is better. While Issa is no doubt unique, Kolibree also seeks to improve on today’s electric toothbrush by making it connected. Issa faces a looming battle of form versus feedback.

Connected Objects Health and Wellness

Impress dentists with the Kolibree smart toothbrush

The Premise. As the Internet of Things continues to grow and expand, it seems like no object or appliance is safe from connectivity. Now this trend is spreading into the bathroom with personal care products designed to give users helpful feedback and data.

The Product. The Kolibree is an electric toothbrush equipped with an accelerometer, gyrometer, and magnetometer in order to tell its users how well they are brushing their teeth. This data can be sent to any iOS or Android device for tracking, brushing history, and advice on how to brush better. From there, the Kolibree is being designed to enhance the brushing experience with social sharing, dentist interaction, and games designed to keep brushing effective while also making it fun.

The Pitch. The Kolibree team show off their latest prototypes of the app and the device itself, complete with dentist approval. While a smart toothbrush may sound excessive to some, the campaign materials do a good job of explaining how a connected brush can be the next big advancement in oral hygiene. Kolibree needs $70,000 to get certified and begin mass production of the brushes, as well as get the developer kits in the hands of those that can push the most out of this tiny device.

The Perks. A Kolibree with a replacement brush head will be available in October to backers who pledge at least $99. Those who want more brush heads and a choice in color will opt for the $149 tier, and developers can get early SDK access before the device launches for $199. The startup is reaching out to the professional crowd, too. Dentists can get some extra software with their Kolibree for $299, and patients who want to interact with the Kolibree and their dentist can beta test the interactive features for $399. Finally, creative brushers can design their own Kolibree for $1,200.

The Potential. In contrast to the Grush designed for children, the Kolibree is a more sophisticated device, made for users of all ages while still gamifying dental hygiene to keep children interested. The social aspects might be too much information for some, but being able to directly upload brushing statistics to dentists will finally give patients something to point to when grilled about their habits. In any case, Kolibree should prepare to brush up on competing with the big boys of brushing.

Connected Objects Health and Wellness Kids/Babies

Gaming toothbrush invites kids to a dandy Grush saga

The Premise. Getting kids to brush their teeth might as well be pulling teeth. Whether it’s because they just don’t want to or because of the association with an approaching bedtime, enforcing good dental hygiene often becomes an intense battle of wits and perseverance.

The Product. Parents can now rejoice with the arrival of the gaming toothbrush, or Grush. This children’s toothbrush is chock full of motion sensors and accelerometers, designed to work in tandem with any Android and iOS devices to turn brushing teeth into a fun game. With multiple games to choose from, young brushers can chase monsters out of their teeth, conduct an orchestra, or groom cute animals while really fighting the true enemy: plaque. The brush has replaceable heads so that money can be saved when it’s time to change out the toothbrush, and the Grush also records data on how children are brushing their teeth. That data can be used by parents to know how children are taking care of their chompers and to show to the family dentist so he or she has a clear picture of the child’s brushing habits as well.

The Pitch. Grush co-Founders Ethan Daniel Schur and Dr. Yong-Jing Wang give a quick demonstration of the Grush and what it can do for everyone in the family, including the dentist. Outside the video, Grush gives a solid breakdown of what to expect from the games and how the device works. Grush wants to raise $50,000 to develop both the platform’s software and hardware.

The Perks. Parents can get a Grush Brush with 2 replacement heads, access to all of the games and the cloud storage for brushing data for at the early discount of just $30. Parents with multiple children can get a double pack for $115, while developers who want to create new features for Grush can get a developer kit for $360. The Grush system is expected to launch in March 2015.

The Potential. The Grush isn’t about to make children stop asking for an Xbox One or a PlayStation 4, but really kids just want to interact with the world and have fun. These two principles are what the Grush is about from the user perspective, so kids won’t mind that they’re brushing their teeth at the same time. However, as with any new toothbrush, one concern is the availability of replacement brush heads. Pediatric dentists will probably keep a handful of these at the ready to deal with their most stubborn customers, while parents will gladly pay up just to not have to argue with kids on a nightly basis. However, as with any new toothbrush, one concern is the availability of replacement brush heads.