The launch, which was supposed to be a pre-MWC event, was the second unveiling of the iO, after its first look at CES in Las Vegas earlier this year. Although MWC was cancelled because of fears over Coronavirus transmission, Oral-B went ahead with its European press conference.
The iO is the result of six years of development and contains features that are new to electronic toothbrushes. Two features, at least. The first is the interactive OLED screen. The second is the fact that the toothbrush will smile at you if you do a good job brushing. (Shudder.)
Apart from training us to behave in order to earn the approbation of our future robot overlords, Oral-B reckons that the iO will also teach us to brush our teeth properly. The biggest change is likely to be the amount and quality of feedback given to the user via the Oral-B app. Your brushing technique will be analysed and feedback given to improve your coverage and the pressure you apply.
Like Oral-B’s previous generation of brush, the iO has a smart pressure sensor that’ll light up if you brush too hard. This has apparently had an upgrade.
Oral-B has also upgraded the way the brush vibrates for improved cleaning capability, as well as made changes to the technology that powers it.
The iO has seven cleaning modes (to its predecessor’s six). We’re not sure exactly what they are but the previous brush had daily clean, gum care, sensitive, whitening, pro clean and tongue cleaning. The seventh mode may well be a personalised setting.
The screen will also greet you, display the battery life, the mode and show a brushing timer that counts up to the two minutes recommended by dentists. While the focus has been on the fact that fact that it’s a (somewhat unnecessary) full-colour OLED screen, it does have a purpose: to increase the number of functions you can use without opening the app.
Other changes to the look of the device include the new magnetic dock, which charges the brush in three hours. The battery life is said to be approximately 12.5 days.
The iO won’t be released until this summer and there’s currently no price attached to the product.
Although there’s a lot of scepticism around this kind of brush technology, plenty of people collect and analyse data on aspects of their life and use this info to improve their health and wellbeing. They monitor their diet on MyFitnessPal, their steps on Fitbit. So why not monitor dental care?
The big question is whether it’ll be able to improve its users’ dental health. But before we get a chance to test it, some smaller questions. Do we need the iO? Are we scared of it? Do we want one anyway? (In my case: maybe not; definitely; and yes.)