This sensor transforms any manual toothbrush into a smart gadget

A new miniaturised sensor is set to change how we brush our teeth, the technology’s developers believe.

Product and design firm, Cambridge Design Partnership (CDP), has developed a miniaturised sensor that is able to be attached to an ordinary toothbrush to capture information into how people are brushing their teeth.

The ‘Truthbrush’ technology uses algorithms and sensors to find out brushing information such as how long someone spends brushing their teeth, at what times of day they brush and the ratio of time spent cleaning the top versus the bottom teeth.

The technology means that any toothbrush company can gather data at the fraction of the cost of developing an electric toothbrush that uses a smart app.

Cambridge Design Partnership give examples of the technology being used for developing a better toothbrush handle for elderly people struggling with dexterity issues and a brush that lights up and buzzes when a child has brushed their teeth for the required amount of time.

The Truthbrush highlights how people are using a basic manual toothbrush and offers insights into how the design could be improved. For example, a twisted handle shape or a different neck design could make it easier to clean difficult to reach areas in the mouth.

The technology uses CDP’s user insight service diialog, to translate data into valuable information that clients can use to make informed investment decisions.

George Bostock, oral care leader at CDP, said: “This is primarily a service to help clients work out where innovation opportunities lie. It’s a practical alternative to investing millions of pounds developing a fully connected brush with a whole host of features that consumers don’t actually need or want. A manual toothbrush in the right hands is as good as an expensive electric toothbrush. The challenge is getting people to clean their teeth properly with whatever device they use.”

“The oral care environment is incredibly complex. Even the most basic toothbrush usually has 500+ bristles, and everyone brushes their teeth slightly differently – so mathematically modelling how bristles move around the mouth is very difficult. Add to that the fact that the substance you are trying to remove – plaque – is a biosystem of different components, all clinging to your teeth, so it’s not just a simple question of how much force you need to use to remove it. This complexity makes it hard to validate test methods – whereas the TruthBrush can uncover vital information from behind the bathroom door, without affecting the consumer’s daily routine.” Bostock concluded.

The company is set to exhibit the Truthbrush at MD&M West MD&M West event, 6-8 February, at the Anaheim Convention Center in California, stand 1425.

Reece Armstrong is a reporter for Digital Health Age. Coming from the North East of England, Reece has an MA in Media & Journalism and a BA in Popular & Contemporary Music from Newcastle University. Reach him on Twitter or email via:

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