The way of the future: A toothbrush that spies on you

Advertisers dream of collecting data on your every movement. "Wearable tech" could actually let them do it

Published January 6, 2014 8:01PM (EST)

Kolibree's smart toothbrush          (
Kolibree's smart toothbrush (

Welcome to the age of cathartic epiphany via Internet-connected teeth-brushing. If the "Quantified Self" is accurately defined as "self-knowledge through numbers," then this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is a can't miss opportunity for mass enlightenment.

The theme of this year's trade show appears to be the "Internet of Things." Everything that can be connected --- from your smart watch to your TV to your washing machine to your smoke alarm to your FitBit activity tracker to your toothbrush -- will be connected. You literally won't be able to make a move without generating a stream of data.

Did your teenager tell the truth when he said he brushed his teeth, thoroughly? There's an app for that!

Kolibree is the first connected electric toothbrush. Connected because unlike anything else available today, Kolibree has a unique technology to analyze your brushing habits and display them on a mobile dashboard that you can readily access on your phone. Kolibree's connected toothbrush is the most advanced and comprehensive solution out there to make sure you stay ahead of the curve.

"Share your stats with dentists and family!"

"Kolibree helps you outsmart your dentist!"

Anyone who has investigated the "quantified self" movement is likely to accept the truth that there are people out there who do crave detailed data on their teeth-brushing habits, which they can use to fine-tune their ascent toward dental nirvana. Likewise, smoke alarms and thermostats that learn how you live and avoid overheating you or interrupting your meals with electronic squawking will surely find a ready market. Activity trackers built into your smart watch or smart glasses are an obvious market opportunity in a nation populated by people too lazy to count their calories the old-fashioned way.

You know how we know this is real, and not dystopic science fiction? Because advertisers are paying serious attention. Advertisers, reports Ad Age, are a big presence at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. If people are connecting to the Internet via new classes of devices, the advertisers will be piggybacking right on top of them.

Ad Age says that advertisers are particularly interested in getting the scoop on "wearables." If the next millennial fad is all about cyborg infatuation, advertisers want to be there!

"The real specific agenda is 'We need to understand wearables: what's real, what's not real and how people are going to use this,'" [MediaLink CEO] Michael Kassan told Ad Age.

So when you check your smart watch for the update on your kids' dental hygiene, don't be surprised to see an ad for Crest. Your smart washing machine will send your GoogleGlass an alert when you're running low on detergent, and offer a digital coupon for some Tide. Your smoke alarms will be subsidized by home insurers.

How long will it be before the triumph of wearable computing means that humans become fully incarnated as walking, talking, breathing advertisements? Is next year's CES too soon?

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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