Your (not-so-distant) Future Bathroom

Posted April 6th, 2012.
Filed under Oral Care, Teeth Brushing.
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Smart Brushers,

For all those who are already actively aware of or participating in the mobile health movement (I hesitate to call it a revolution quite yet, but it certainly will be at some point in the near future), you know that certain key health indicators are the focus of a variety of technologies.  Activity monitoring is hot, as evidenced by Jawbone’s UP and Nike’s Fuelband.  Vital sign monitoring as well, with the Basis Band (which I am personally really excited about) and others.  Glucose monitoring also warrants attention for wireless health technology.

However, about a year ago I made what I thought to be two interesting observations about what is NOT being pursued outwardly at 50,000 feet in mhealth.  First, oral care and dentistry did not even have a dog in the fight.  With oral care being so driven by consistent attention and care by the individual as opposed to the practitioner, it was curious to me that the best I could find anywhere was a whisper about dental’s place at the broader wireless health table.  Think about it, you brush your teeth every day to keep your teeth healthy, but unless you have a chronic condition, you may do very little on a daily basis for the rest of your health.  This indicates that oral care is at least valuable to the average person as a daily hygiene habit.  My second observation was that no one appeared to be really attacking the bathroom as a whole.  Here was this physicial space in everyone’s home filled with products that in some way focus on health and wellness.  Even better, a morning and evening routine exists for most people that finds said person in this physical space.  This is a fairly valuable commodity to me, as the other places you can consistently find a person (office, classroom, car) do not contain all of these health related influences.

Albeit on a slightly different schedule, we all take our cars to get the oil changed.  A mechanic is going to go through a something-point inspection, run diagnostics, perform general maintenance updates, rotate the tires, blah blah.  Yet why wasn’t anyone seeing this opportunity to do the same thing once or twice a day in the bathroom?

With these two broad ideas in mind, the Beam Brush helps to bring oral care into the digital health world, which I think is very important at a number of levels.  Beyond that, it is also a step toward the “connected bathroom” where your daily routine is about to become high tech.  Bluetooth scales are already available, and I saw a great feature this week from the NY Times on their really cool mirror for content consumption that has a health edge to it.  As more infrastructure is built around these concepts, it will become critical to tie these systems together in a useful manner, and that is the elephant in the tub.

Have a great weekend!


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