Computers and toothbrushes

In the past I’ve talked about the ubiquity of computing. It’s come to this: the Oral B triumph toothbrush, an electric toothbrush with an onboard computer that tells you how long to brush or polish your teeth with its two circular brushheads.

The reviews are good, even if it’s tough to be nagged by a smart-alek toothbrush. And it is packed with computers.

the brush head has another microchip in it, which chatters with the handle’s on-board computer, providing feedback in 13 languages on the LCD. The on-board computer recognizes each user’s brush head by its unique chip, so it can track usage and prompt the user when it’s time to change brush heads.

When you’ve polished enough, an image of a tooth appears on the LCD screen, with an asterisk of light glinting off a corner. And when one has brushed enough with the cleaning head, the LCD screen displays (heaven help us) a smiley face. A little cloying for adults, perhaps, but it should get kids into gear to brush properly.

The brush head also notifies the user every 30 seconds to shift gears and brush another mouth quadrant. It also notifies you when the recommended two minutes lap time has elapsed — very sportsmanlike for the wired (as in orthodontia) prepubescent user.

Welcome to the age of smart devices, that tell you when you’ve run out of coffee, drunk too much, or didn’t gargle enough. Welcome also to the age of hazardous waste in small domestic packages. If you thought it would be difficult to dispose of toothbrushes before because they were composed of multiple plastics, now it’s doubly difficult because that tiny device is stuffed with microprocessors and batteries and all sorts of hazardous waste.

6 Responses to “Computers and toothbrushes”

  1. liam says:

    Late night thoughts: if it indeed comes to pass that electronics become ubiquitous, will some of the measures which have been taken with other, generally less harmful, products be applied?

    For example, perhaps in the future, another (beige?) curbside recycling box, specifically for electronic goods, with collection at regular, albeit low, frequency until the floodwaters of silicon rise considerably.

    Indeed, maybe even putting a small (but non-trivial) deposit on electronic parts to encourage their return, combined with an at-purchase fee charged to either the consumer or producer to cover the cost of the recycling. The deposit would encourage the products to be returned to be recycled, and the levy would ensure there’s an incentive and funding to do so.

  2. Hello, congratulations for your nice and wise blog! I agree with you in your post “Computers and toothbrushes”. By the way, my wife and I are running a new project about embedded single board computer and many other great tools. I find your work interesting and you may have the professional skills we need. Keep writing, we will contact you!

  3. In both computers and toothbrush we use “paste”.. Ha ha ha… Just for joke guys!!!

    Fan of Don Lapre

  4. Carlton Pery says:

    Great post!! I just have to copy it

  5. Ian says:

    I fully agree. Electric tooth brushes are the next generation of ways to destroy our planet. To add to the frustration of stupidity in the world lets not forget that to power/recharge these brushes requires electricity, which last time I checked was still mostly produced by other equally or more destructive ways. Good job leaders of the world. Maybe we can destroy the planet in 20 years instead of 50. Here’s another idea maybe nuclear bombs would make an even better fireworks show. Or maybe we can build a more powerful bomb. Well, I guess those kids whose parents we let die from curable disease’s will just have to starve. We have a new bomb to make so we can save the planet. Wait, something about that thought process didn’t seem right. Oh yeah, and since it is in the best interests of the tax payers, the government should fund this new bigger bomb project. Anyone who throws rocks at us to try and stop us will be considered a terrorist too.

    Nice to see some people with some sense on here. Keep promoting the good fight people. Maybe one day things will change.

  6. I’m sorry but I love this toothbrush. I know people will say that electric toothbrushes are for lazy people, but its really helped my dental care routine and improved my visits to the dentist!