Smart tech: Fad or the Future?

From hairbrushes that ‘listen’ for breaking hair, to sickness detecting wearable devices, it seems digital healthcare has seriously upped its game for 2017.

But is a hairbrush that listens out for little screams of pain from hairs splitting as you brush it really the future – ok that’s not actually what happens, I have a vivid imagination… – or is it simply a fad?

While it might not be the invention we all have in our homes by the end of this year, it’s possible that an iteration of this will become a staple in our personal grooming kit in the future. The best successes often start with failure, so it will be interesting to see how this latest innovation fares.

One invention I would wholly welcome and can really see transforming healthcare, is the smart toothbrush. And if you hadn’t already guessed it – that exists too.

Dental product tech firm Kolibree has brought us Ara – the first toothbrush with AI. It’s designed to help users improve their oral health by collecting data about brushing habits and provides feedback on brushing techniques. And it can even collect this data when it’s not connected to its corresponding app (to which the data is synchronised). A weekly email report shows you how well you’ve brushed your teeth over the last seven days. This electric toothbrush on steroids could really revolutionise our oral care regimes!

The smart toothbrush has huge potential. Not only can it educate people of all ages on how to maximise their brushing technique – hopefully staving off issues like gum disease and tooth decay, but what if it could identify problems before we even become aware of them. Users willing to share their brushing data could help keep their dentists up to date with their oral care between visits, potentially changing the way we schedule our visits to the dentist. And if you had a concern about something, dentists could potentially look at data rather than our physical mouths to offer an early diagnosis. Perhaps they’ll even build cameras into smart toothbrushes to help document growing or recovering issues. The options – for now – seem endless.

The business of wellbeing is a promising and profitable one. Optimising our healthcare regimes is a goldmine for technologists and brands that are willing to make the first move – smart nail clippers anyone?