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Jennifer Karp

Brushing Gets Smart

Oral care products join the progress of interconnected devices

Users of a new line of ReachUsers of a new line of Reach toothbrushes from Dr. Fresh can get an email reminding them to purchase a replacement.
Add toothbrushes to the line of housewares products joining the Internet of Things.

These are objects that can be managed by computers — once a futuristic vision that is fast becoming a reality in housewares. According to a report from Research and Markets, a Dublin-based market research firm, it is expected that by 2025, a trillion of interconnected devices will be present in the general retail market.

A major launch in this area at the 2014 International Home + Housewares Show came from Jarden Corp. which appears to be first to market with a suite of wifi-networked kitchen appliances, including a space heater, Crock-Pot and Mr. Coffee coffee pot that can be operated from a smartphone.

Now toothbrushes that connect to the Internet to record brushing habits are taking aim at the over $5 billion toothbrush market.

In February, Oral-B introduced its interactive electric toothbrush with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity at Mobile World Congress 2014, part of an exhibit showcasing cutting-edge mobile products and services for the increasingly connected life, called GSMA Connected City.

Oral-B interactive electricThe Oral-B interactive electric toothbrush records brushing activity with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity.

Wayne Randall, vp, Global Oral Care at Procter and Gamble, said the new interactive electric toothbrush with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity “provides the highest degree of user interaction to track your oral care habits to help improve your oral health, and we believe it will have significant impact on the future of personal oral care, providing data-based solutions for oral health, and making the relationship between dental professionals and patients a more collaborative one.”

The Oral-B interactive electric toothbrush records brushing activity as data that can be charted and shared with dental professionals. The app can be programmed so that it communicates with the brush for personalized brushing. It offers six cleaning modes and is compatible with six different brush heads. A pressure sensor signals and decelerates the speed when the user is brushing too hard.

The Bluetooth 4.0 technology is available in a variety of Oral-B electric toothbrushes, including the new Oral-B SmartSeries. Retail is $115.99.

Another interactive toothbrush was spotted at the International Consumer Electronics Show in January. Kolibree, a start-up company with an office in New York City, unveiled a smart toothbrush that can analyze brushing habits and display them on a smart phone. Consumers can download the free mobile app, connect via Bluetooth and record their brushing habits. The data knows whether users have brushed long enough and reached the hard-to-reach but important parts of one’s teeth and gums. The app works with several toothbrushes so a family can use it.

Kolibree smart toothbrushesKolibree smart toothbrushes can display brushing habits on a smart phone or tablet.
The Kolibree connected toothbrush will be available in Q3 2014 and ready for preorder starting this summer. Orders will be available initially through Kickstarter and can be shipped worldwide. The price of Kolibree will range from $99 to $200 depending on the model and will include a free mobile app.

An earlier introduction into this category came from Louisvillebased Beam Technologies, which launched a manual brush with an embedded sensor that charts brushing behavior and sends the data to an Android or iPhone app via Bluetooth in January 2013. The Beam interactive toothbrush retails for $49.99, far less than its electric competition.

While not connected to the Internet via wifi, a new line of Reach toothbrushes from Dr. Fresh that launched in May offers new angles, heads, grips — and an email reminder when it is time for a replacement. They will retail from $3.99-$5.99

“Given the link between oral care and overall health, we are excited to provide the benefit of this technology to the U.S. and Canada, helping families upgrade their toothbrushes,” said Renu Mevasse, director of marketing, who said the company recommends replacing toothbrushes every three months. A text message reminder program can be accessed at www. Reachtoothbrush.com/sms.

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