A truly smart brush: sensor technology for proper toothbrushing

At a glance

© Fraunhofer IIS/Marcus Bocksch

How the SmartBrush works

Procter & Gamble (P&G) wanted to offer a new and intelligent generation of toothbrushes. During the development phase, P&G learned of two Fraunhofer IIS innovations: SHORE™ software for facial detection and analysis, and localization technologies for position recognition via inertial sensors. In combination with position data, SHORE™ made it possible to recognize and analyze in real time movements of the user’s head and how they are holding the toothbrush. This became the basis for a new and intelligent toothbrush system. Via an app on the user’s smartphone, this system informs the user about the area they are brushing in order to improve dental hygiene.

Inertial Sensors

© Fraunhofer IIS/Marcus Bocksch

An inertial navigation system (INS) determines a user’s position and speed with no need for external reference points. Instead, the user’s current position is determined by measuring the distance covered and direction of movement during a certain period of time and comparing that to the last known position and orientation. The Procter & Gamble project aimed to further improve the robustness and precision of the position data provided by the inertial sensors in the toothbrush handle. The challenge lay in selecting inertial sensors given the relatively scant measurement data provided by the acceleration sensors. → Inertial sensors and inertial navigation systems

SHORE™-technology

© Fraunhofer IIS

SHORE™ is a real-time software developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS for detecting and analyzing faces in images and videos. By extension, the software can analyze people’s age, gender and emotional state or facial expression. Developers sought to refine the algorithm in the SHORE™ software library so that the smart brush more precisely determines the position of the toothbrush based on the location of the jaw. → SHORE™