Health monitoring and wellness tech is an early front-runner for CES trend of 2014.
One of the most intriguing launches at this year's show is Kolibree, a toothbrush that allows you to monitor your brushing and compare it with other members of your family. We put one near our gaping maw to find out what the future of tooth care feels like.
Brushie Brushie Brushie
The Kolibree is, fortunately, a traditional-looking electric toothbrush. It's slim and light, magnetically attaches to its flat charging base and charges via induction, and a single button press gets it buzzing.
But, in addition to the usual toothbrush trappings, it has Bluetooth connectivity and packs an accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope to keep track of its orientation within your mouth.
We didn't get the opportunity to actually brush with it - after all, it had already been fingered by a score of sweaty tech journos. Kolibree's reps didn't go into detail about the quality of its brushing capabilities, but pointed out that its head oscillates side-to-side, which apparently is the right way for the head of a toothbrush to oscillate.
It's all in the app
The Kolibree app for iOS and Android is where the action happens. Create a profile and it will monitor your (hopefully twice-) daily brushing. As with fitness monitors, it sets you goals for each brush, and tells you how you're doing at achieving them.
The app stores profiles for up to five users, and allows you to compare brushing stats between them on a series of pretty timescaled graphs. The prototype sample we saw tracked only the time you spend brushing, but the final product will supposedly 'score' brushers based on which teeth were brushed, how well they were brushed and for how long, based on data from the orientation chip.
Kolibree's makers are looking to gamify tooth-brushing in the way that fitness bands gamify your daily movements. And it could just work - if you have a couple of kids who shun their toothbrushes, show them how they compare on the graph and you might just spark their competitive spirit; they'll brush until they're left with naught but bloody stumps.
At this stage, there doesn't appear to be much more to the app - you can't, for example, adjust the behaviour of the toothbrush via the app. Right now, Kolibree brushes the same for everyone, but future developments may include up to 255 different brushing modes.
It's going to be out in Autumn 2014 and will cost between US$100 and US$200 depending on what package you buy.