Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Kolibree launches AI powered toothbrush

William Payne
January 18, 2017
Connected oral health firm Kolibree has launched Ara, a toothbrush with embedded artificial intelligence (AI). The toothbrush is designed for adult healthcare, and will be subject to a two continent-wide clinical trial in 2017 to demonstrate how artificial intelligence can be deployed to improve people's daily habits and improve health.

“Patented deep learning algorithms are embedded directly inside the toothbrush on a low-power processor. Raw data from the sensors runs through the processor, enabling the system to learn your habits and refine accuracy the more it’s used,” said Kolibree founder and CEO Thomas Serval. “Ara is Kolibree’s newest innovation for personalized healthcare, with an eye on disease prevention and wellness,” added Serval.

Kolibree claim that Ara knows precisely where in a mouth a user is brushing, even when not connected to the app on a mobile device. Whether brushing on or off-line, brushing data (frequency, duration and brushed areas) is captured in the toothbrush and automatically synced via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 4.0) when the app is open.

According to Kolibree, this data collected is greater than the capabilities of any other smart toothbrush.

Users receive a weekly email report that shows them at a glance how well they have brushed their teeth over the last seven days.

The company also says that Ara offers the benefits of an electric toothbrush with bristles and sonic vibrations gentle enough to effectively remove plaque without “overbrushing” that can cause gum recession.

Ara’s “offline mode” is the result of a behaviour study over a three-year period of more than 10,000 people who have used an electric connected Kolibree toothbrush. The company has learned that children are motivated to brush their teeth, and have learned to brush better, when enticed by a mobile game, such as Kolibree’s Go Pirate, which is part of the Kolibree app. Adults, on the other hand, don’t always need to be as engaged with an app. Some days grown-ups are too busy or not in the mood to pull out a smartphone whenever it’s time to brush their teeth. Kolibree says that this is where Ara comes into play.

Developed for adults, Ara will be the subject of a large clinical study in spring 2017. Testing will take place in USA and Europe and aims to show how AI can change people’s daily behaviors and improve oral care.