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Introducing the iBrush

Colin Walls

Colin Walls

Posted Oct 19, 2009

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.

Nucleus, Wi-Fi, RTOS, Development Tools, Nucleus USB, Nucleus Kernel, USB

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About Colin Walls Follow on Twitter

Colin WallsI have over thirty years experience in the electronics industry, largely dedicated to embedded software. A frequent presenter at conferences and seminars and author of numerous technical articles and two books on embedded software, I am a member of the marketing team of the Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division, and am based in the UK. Away from work, I have a wide range of interests including photography and trying to point my two daughters in the right direction in life. Learn more about Colin, including his go-to karaoke song and the best parts of being British: Visit The Colin Walls Blog

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Comments 6

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*cough* My idea... *cough*

Emmeline Walls
4:21 PM Oct 19, 2009

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

Colin Walls
4:29 PM Oct 19, 2009

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.

Chris Campbell
8:06 AM Oct 20, 2009

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: It's made by Hasbro, here's there website: You can buy them at a lot of places, including Amazon:

Richard Lueck
4:52 PM Oct 21, 2009

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.

Daniel Morris
7:01 PM Oct 21, 2009

Not really a new idea: Btw: some of the original project members might still be interested, the prototype is still somewhere, a business plan draft as well :-)

stefan thurnherr
8:47 PM Dec 6, 2009

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