Who said brushing your teeth can't be fun? It certainly isn't Kolibree, a company that's introducing the world to the first augmented reality toothbrush for kids at this week's CES tech conference in Las Vegas.
Not to be confused with the Marvel Comics character of the same name, Kolibree's Magik toothbrush app for mobile devices lets children play entertaining games that simultaneously challenge them to brush their teeth thoroughly. Kids can choose from 15 different imaginary worlds in the app and, as a reward, kids can unlock Snapchat-like camera effects and stickers when they've brushed well.
"Games are proven to keep the attention of children, so why not use that to combat and eradicate cavities?" said Thomas Serval, the CEO and co-founder of Kolibree, in a company statement.
"Magik is the start of our vision to transform the way children approach oral care routines, from an obligatory chore to a fun and educational pillar of their nighttime routines."
Based on the company's recent studies, Serval obviously feels that Kolibree's efforts may be well-placed. According to a survey of 271 parents [PDF] conducted by Kolibree in 2016, 54% of respondents admitted difficulty in convincing their children to brush their teeth. In addition, 80% of those surveyed said their children had access to a smartphone or tablet. Therefore, Kolibree's matching of a common problem with a widely available technological tool seems to provide the perfect opportunity to instill good oral hygiene habits in children.
It's not just fun and games, though. Using computer vision via the smartphone's camera, the Magik app senses the position and movement of the toothbrush and trains kids on proper technique. The Magik app also reports back to parents to confirm that the chore was done and report on how well the child did.
The AR-enabled toothbrushing system has been impressive enough to earn it the CES 2018 Innovation Award, which is no small feat in a year when many were expecting AR to be a major focus at the event. Then again, Kolibree, a self-described "smart oral care company," has used technology to trick children and adults into good dental hygiene habits previously through mobile apps and a Bluetooth-connected and AI-enabled toothbrush called Ara.
Although Magik is not yet available for purchase, interested parties can sign up at Kolibree's website to be notified when it's available.