Tootu

Umeå Institute of DesignSweden

Expressing

Concept / Student

Team

Joan Farre, Anna Gebala, Nathan Qin

Overview

Kids and dental health are something that never always go well together, and by the time children reach kindergarten, more than 40 per cent of kids has cavities. Even though being a major influential factor in kids developing better dental habits, most parents struggle to get their kids like brushing.

Tootu is a toothbrush holder designed to invoke a playful experience for children to enjoy brushing. It turns any toothbrush into a multi-sound musical instrument, thus making brushing process a music creation experience. Rather than teaching kids the right way of brushing, Tootu indirectly guides the kid when he creates different sounds while brushing. This helps them to create awareness of different ways to perform a proper brushing and subconsciously develop a healthy habit.

Tootu consists of 3 parts – Toothbrush holder Cup, Speaker unit and sensor ring. The cup holds the toothbrush and acts as a dial to change the musical instrument. The elastic motion sensor ring, which is attached to the brush, tracks the body movement while brushing. Variation in kid’s brushing action generates different notes, while the music goes mute with a rapidly breathing light when it detects no movement. The speaker unit plays the sound created through brushing movement.

Our research started with talking to parents to understand how kids like brushing and understanding the methods they employ to see if it is rightly done. We found that most parents tried changing brush or had additional devices to track brushing. But in all cases, it was challenging to make brushing an enjoyable activity which motivates the kid to like it.

We also found that most solutions focus on directing the kid through screen-based apps or arbitrary sounds and music. In most cases, parents were apprehensive of their children being raised by an app. This helped us shift our focus from a product-driven solution to making the monotonous experience of brushing into a more engaging one.

Key to an engaging experience is to bring elements of curiosity and surprise through inherent feedback. Even though sound is commonly used as a medium to enhance an experience, in most cases, it turns out to be less explorative for the user. Tootu bridges this gap by making the user in control of the sound he/she hears. It doesn’t play an arbitrary sound to indicate what is right or wrong but guides the kid by playing the audio as a natural consequence of his action. Looking at the mirror and using their perceptual-motor skills to create music, in turn, help kids gain awareness of the critical movements that are involved in brushing teeth.

Audience

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