Flying cars may not be a thing just yet, but technology is advancing in ways that you probably wouldn't have expected. One such innovation is artificial intelligence (AI), which is slowly taking over home life thanks to AI assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home. These little yet powerful devices can answer questions and give advice, and even control other electronic devices throughout your house. But if there's one thing AI has yet to cover, it's your electric toothbrush. Well, thanks to Oral-B's Genius X range that's all about to change — but how does an AI toothbrush work, exactly?
Gone are the days where electric toothbrushes just gave you a nudge at the two-minute mark while brushing your teeth — the Genius X does that and so much more. Harnessing the power of Bluetooth, you can now hook your toothbrush to a companion app that will not only monitor how long you're brushing your teeth for, but it will also track where the brush is in your mouth and guide you in terms of the amount of pressure you're applying, offering "personalised feedback on the areas that require additional attention", as detailed on Oral-B's site. Once your brushing session is complete, you'll be given a score out of "100 per cent rating how good a job you've done of things" as GQ noted during their test run of the product. Talk about thorough.
Like other wellbeing apps, the app stores the data collected each time you brush your teeth and will be available to view as a way to help you improve your brushing techniques, as the Independent reports. It will also keep tabs on other aspects of your brushing, like how effective your brushing is and the health of your gums.
But with every new product, it has its flaws. As GQ points out, the mouth tracking is supposed to flag when you've missed a spot, but they found that "[b]rush strokes in the bottom left corner of [the] mouth consistently went missing". The Genius X isn't set for release until September this year, so there's still plenty of time for kinks to be ironed out. And while it's unclear whether the brush's software can be updated in tandem with the app, it seems like a possibility with a piece of tech that's reliant on connecting to an app.
While Oral-B may be one of the first major dental companies to invest in this type of technology, the use of AI in toothbrushes isn't an unfamiliar prospect. There are plenty of electric toothbrushes on the market that are equipped with built-in timers and other fancy tech to keep your teeth as clean as they possibly can be. Sure, these products are often on the expensive side, but as Forbes points out indie companies like Quip are also getting in on the action to make dentist-approved oral care as easy and affordable as possible.
Not only that, but AI is becoming an increasing presence at the dentist as well. It probably isn't something that crosses your mind to frequently while you're sat in the dentist chair, but AI is becoming "relied upon to make your dental appointment more efficient to enhance your care."
As Forbes reports, in the U.S., dental company Dentem offers "a platform that integrates machine learning APIs [...] that offers dental practices software services" for booking appointments, digitally analysing dental imagery, and are even in the process of creating an AI assistant "that will respond to a dentist's voice commands." Here in the UK, dental company CT Dent are doing similar work in the field of AI, with similar software that will be able to analyse dental imagery in similar ways.
It may not be Skynet levels of AI (thank God), but who knew this much AI could be put into the dental industry, eh?