Scientists have come up with a novel idea to encourage kids to brush their teeth properly.
They’ve created a game with a webcam and basic software similar to a Nintendo Wii.
The ‘Playful Toothbrush’ is the brainchild of scientists at Taiwan University and aims to aid the tiresome task faced by dental professionals and parents everywhere – getting children to brush their teeth effectively.
With the average five year old brushing only a quarter of their teeth, the ‘learning through play’ approach may prove a winner.
LED modules containing three LEDs are mounted onto one end of the toothbrush and a web camera, mounted onto a bathroom mirror, can track this.
The camera uses computer software to track the movements of the toothbrush.
This information is fed as an input into the computer, which displays a game that the scientists have developed.
The game displays a set of graphic colourful teeth which become white as and when the child moves the toothbrush over the teeth.
Their results were presented at the 26th Computer and Human Interaction conference in Florence, Italy, in April.
A film of the Playful Toothbrush in action can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-w6X9AEIA0E&eurl=http://technology.newscientist.com/channel/tech/dn13598-computerised-toothbrush-makes-oral-hygiene-a-game.html?feedId=onli