Introducing the iBrush

Today, for a change, instead of discussing some embedded software technology, I would like to put forward a concept for a product. It is an embedded system, which I believe could sell in high volumes. Maybe someone reading this blog would like to develop it. I am happy to waive any rights to royalties on the idea so long as we have an understanding that you will use Mentor Graphics products in your design.

This product is the iBrush …

I normally brush my teeth twice a day – after breakfast and before going to bed. My hygienist tells me that this is sufficient, so long as I use a good electric toothbrush and keep it up for two minutes on each occasion. I do not time myself and I am not keen to get a toothbrush with a timer as I am very averse to nasty bleeping noises at sensitive times of day.

I had an idea: why not have a brush that played music for exactly two minutes. That would be much nicer. It could even be set up to play a different tune at either end of the day. Better still, a USB connection could enable it to download MP3s from a PC. Maybe it could make use of an iTunes playlist and shuffle the songs. The music could be delivered through the head of the toothbrush directly into the jaw of the user so only they would hear it.

I was excited by this idea, but realized there was much more potential. I would not want to carry my toothbrush into my study to connect it to the PC and laptops and bathrooms are really not compatible. A wireless connection would be ideal. Initially, I thought of Bluetooth (Get it? Bluetooth for a toothbrush. Never mind.), but Wi-Fi would be much more flexible.

Once the Wi-Fi interface is included, Internet connectivity is an option and more possibilities come to mind. The brush could send periodic emails to your dentist to show the pattern of your dental hygiene, enabling them to advise you as necessary. Perhaps a tiny camera could be fitted into the head of the brush. This could send occasional pictures to your dentist, which they would review from time to time and call you if they spot a problem. This could even reduce the number of check-up appointments and cut your healthcare costs.

What software would you need to design and implement the iBrush? You would need some embedded development tools, a real time kernel, WiFi or USB and an MP3 player, which is readily available.

I really think that the iBrush has potential. I will be in California later this week. Maybe I need to visit Cupertino.

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Posted October 19th, 2009, by

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About The Colin Walls Blog

This blog is a discussion of embedded software matters - news, comment, technical issues and ideas, along with other passing thoughts about anything that happens to be on my mind. The Colin Walls Blog

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Commented on 19 October 2009 at 17:21
By Emmeline Walls

*cough* My idea… *cough*

Commented on 19 October 2009 at 17:29
By Colin Walls

OK. It’s fair to say that we discussed it. Let’s call it a collaborative effort.

Commented on 20 October 2009 at 09:06
By Chris Campbell

Clever idea, I certainly wouldn’t mind enjoying some music in the morning. I wonder how the music would sound if it was implemented as you described.

Commented on 21 October 2009 at 17:52
By Richard Lueck

Actually, there already is a toothbrush that plays music for two minutes. It only plays one tune, but there are different tunes available, including Queen’s “We Will Rock You”
You can find a tear-down here: http://nuxx.net/gallery/v/acquired_stuff/tooth_tunes/
It’s made by Hasbro, here’s there website:
http://www.hasbro.com/shop/browse/_/N-1r/Ntt-Tooth%20Tunes?Ntk=All&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial

You can buy them at a lot of places, including Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=tooth+tunes+musical+toothbrush&tag=googhydr-20&index=toys-and-games&hvadid=3771140457&ref=pd_sl_39xmhfoz1r_b

Commented on 21 October 2009 at 20:01
By Daniel Morris

Great idea! In fact, why should I wait for my bread to toast in silence? Perhaps an iToaster with the same features (except that it would report to my doctor that I used whole wheat bread)? That only covers the morning, though. I’ll also need an iMicrowave to listen to music while I’m waiting for my baked potato in the evening.

Commented on 6 December 2009 at 21:47
By stefan thurnherr

Not really a new idea:
http://www.cs.chalmers.se/idc/ituniv/student/2003/ubicomp/ibrush/

Btw: some of the original project members might still be interested, the prototype is still somewhere, a business plan draft as well :-)

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