Meet the tooth fairy | Breakthrough Funding

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Meet the tooth fairy

New miniaturised tech is granting manufacturers’ data-based wishes

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.”

Who said that? It was master detective Sherlock Holmes and it seems that the super sleuth was onto something – in a nutshell, don’t embark on a course of action until you’ve got the facts to back it up.

 Any smart business person knows that launching a new product or service is pure folly if you’re not pretty certain that there’s a market for it. Similarly, there’s no point pushing for innovative changes to an existing design if you don’t know what those changes should achieve.

This is a problem that’s been facing the toothbrush market for quite some time. The toothbrush we know and love today was officially invented in 1938, although the bristle brush made its debut in China back in the 15th century and experts reckon we’ve been chowing down on chew sticks for as many as 5,000 years. So, you think we’d have toothbrushes pretty much nailed by now.

We’ve got electric toothbrushes that do the oscillating for us and some of these can even give us feedback on our techniques via smart technology and apps. But for those who are still labouring away with a manual brush (which is most of us, by the way) – how can our twice-daily experience be improved? Are we getting to those tricky ones right at the back? What problems develop over time as our bodies, teeth and manual dexterity changes?

Toothbrush manufacturers would love to know the answers to these questions, so that they can start making meaningful and helpful changes to manual toothbrush design. But with no data, there are no identified challenges to solve.

Here comes the tooth fairy in the shape of Cambridge Design Partnership, which has developed the new TruthBrush technology –  miniaturised sensors that are small enough to fit into a manual brush handle and can feed back data about our habits and techniques to the manufacturers. Data is essential to innovation and with this research, we might see the toothbrush market starting to look a whole lot shinier.

Are you working on making a tried and tested design better for the 21st century, or finding a way to gather important data that so far remains unmined? Get in touch with us on 0800 772 0800 to share your story.

There's more you should know