Even smart toothbrushes have AI now

Kolibree's Ara uses deep learning to analyze your brushing habits.

Before the likes of Oral-B started selling Bluetooth-enabled, app-connected toothbrushes, there was Kolibree. The startup developed one of the first smart toothbrushes that incentivized regular brushing and documented oral hygiene habits. We caught the first Kolibree brush at CES several years ago ahead of its successful Kickstarter campaign, and this year the company is back at the tech show with a new model: the Ara. So, what's the latest innovation in smart toothbrushes? AI, of course.

"Patented deep learning algorithms are embedded directly inside the toothbrush on a low-power processor," Kolibree's press release reads. One of the benefits of this new chip is that you don't need the companion app open on your mobile for brushing data to be recorded. The device can store all the info from its bevy of motion sensors in offline mode, syncing up with the app next time you load it.

The primary reason for the AI component, though, is so the brush can analyze your behavior and provide more-personalized feedback regarding your poor hygiene -- either at a glance within the app or via a weekly email report. Health care is one of the most promising avenues for AI, where complex data-crunching can potentially improve our understanding and treatment of diseases. But do we need to cram Jarvis into an electric toothbrush?

One "leading health insurer" in Italy thinks it's more than a buzzword, at least, having committed to offering the Ara to its clients. Kolibree also plans to start a study this spring in Europe and the US to clinically validate the value of AI in improving oral health. If you're less cynical than us, the Ara is now available to pre-order from Kolibree for $79 until the end of February, at which point the introductory price will jump to $129.

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