A playful experience to encourage kids to develop healthy brushing habits
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. It is the result of a 2 week long sound design project at Umea Institute of Design.
Kids and dental health are something that never always go well together and by the time children reach kindergarten, more than 40 percent of kids has cavities. Parents are a major influential factor in kids developing better dental habits but most parents struggle to get their kids like brushing.
Tootu is an attempt to solve this age-old problem, where it not only makes brushing an enjoyable '2 minutes' but also opens up new opportunities for parents-kid interaction. Rather than teaching kids the right way of brushing, it indirectly guides the kid to brush the right areas through the right sound and subconsciously develop a healthy brushing habit.
Team: Joan Farre (IxD), Anna Gebala (APD), Nathan Qin (APD)
Role: User Research, Ideation and detailing, Lighting experience, Prototyping the interaction (Electronics).
When it comes to brushing, the toothbrush is not always the culprit. Most kids lose their interest easily and it was important to make the concept work for any type of brush. We thus focused on creating a playful brushing experience than creating another toothbrush.
The Tootu kit consists of a toothbrush holder and an elastic motion tracking sensor ring. The ring is attached to the toothbrush to track its movement. It measures the brushing movement and position, thus generating the music according to the movement.
Tootu is designed to encourage the kids to develop healthy dental habits subconsciously. Making music through brushing movement is expected to transform a monotonous experience into a playful one, thus making it more motivating and engaging.
Most solutions focus on the visual aspect to direct kids brushing movement or rely on a particular kind of toothbrush, thus limiting the possibilities for variation. We shifted the focus to make the experience adaptable to any kind of toothbrush and the choice of music driven by the movement offers greater variations and physical interaction.
Sound and Light. Tootu
Key to an engaging experience is to bring elements of curiosity and surprise through inherent feedback. Even though sound is 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 hear.
When coupled with light, sound can be more intuitive and people can easily sense the change/variation in the feedback. Tootu uses this to subconsciously direct the kids to properly brush their teeth.
When he takes the brush, it creates a happy mood through a light and sound sequence.
Once the kid begins brushing, he starts making music. This is the most engaging part where he is in control of the music he makes. This is complemented by light which shows the progress.
Even though the experience can be engaging, it is necessary to encourage the right movement and position while brushing. Music goes mute with a rapidly breathing light when it detects no/wrong movement.
When the brushing time is complete, tootu recognizes this and gives a rewarding tone along with a playful light effect.
When the kid puts the brush back, It gives an acknowledging happy tone and before going to sleep mode.
Our research started with talking to parents in order to understand how kids like brushing and understanding the methods they employ to see if things are done right. We also went to the local dentistry to understand how they take care of kids.
We found that most parents tried changing brush or had additional devices to track brushing. But in all cases, it was difficult to make it an enjoyable activity which motivates the kid to like brushing.
Parent: "I want my kid to get
Making of. Tootu
The fast-paced nature of the project directed us to make quick and workable decisions. Throughout the process, we made sure not to shift from the common vision of making brushing a more enjoyable activity.
Different elements of the product were developed simultaneously and were reviewed through testing. This helped us validate multiple iterations within a short span of time.