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A very critical part of our project was to fit all the ideas into the small shelter of a traditional electronic toothbrush; so many features, components and functionalities that simply have to disappear – but this is exactly what Ubiquitous Computing is about! Thus we consider the project to be a success.

Things that work
The project with iBrush has worked as planned. This is mostly due to the fact that from the beginning we had a realistic and detailed time schedule. In the course of the project we kept this plan up-to-date and followed it as closely as possible. Another reason for the smooth progression of the project is that we had a wide range of competence and backgrounds in the group, which contributed a lot during the whole project. Finally we had a good atmospere within the group, where everyone was ready to take responsibility for a part of the project, but also to sometimes leave it up to the other goup members to fulfill a task and trust them that they will do it well.

The implementation of the prototype was the major part in the project. We started with a very simple traditional toothbrush, to which we added additional technology while the project went by.

The main limitation
is time, as it is always for projects like this one. But as mentioned above, our detailed time schedule helped us very much; still the last days before the presentation became stressful.

One important fact of which we got aware of during the project was that children and adults don’t brush their teeth the same way, which forced us to think differently for children. The idea of iBrush is that the rhythm of the music should change according to the user’s brushing tempo. We also thought about changing the octave depending on which side (left or right) the user is brushing. But after having observed the children we realized that this was too difficult and unlogical for them. We kept the thought of changing from one octave to another, but instead of having different octaves for the left and the right teeth, we associated different octaves for the upper and the lower teeth.

Another limit is that children use to bite on the toothbrush head, which imposes some restrictions on which components we could and could not build into the brush head.

To start the music playback, there is an RFID tag in the lid of the toothpaste tube. This has to be brought into the sending range of the antenna (built into the toothbrush) each time the user starts brushing the teeth, as well as wich each music genre change. As the sending range of the antenna is limited, this can possibly introduce an additional, explicit interaction step. A longer antenna range or a bigger RFID tag would of course solve this problem, but the physical size of the toothbrush and the toothpaste tube as well as the power consumption of the RFID reader set limits that are difficult to break.

The final iBrush product