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Kolibree Magik gaming toothbrush tricks kids into brushing

The Kolibree Magik smart toothbrush uses an AR game to stave off cavities.

Josh Miller/CNET

Aside from getting them to eat their vegetables and wake up for school, getting your kids to brush their teeth is one of the hardest things to do.

Fortunately, Kolibree has made it easier with its Magik smart toothbrush. Using computer vision technology, motion tracking and your phone's front-facing camera, Magik incentivises kids to brush their teeth with an augmented reality gaming app.

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Magik uses AR to get your kids to start brushin'.

Kolibree

The game, called Magik Mirror, requires your kid to fire up the selfie cam to start. While brushing their teeth, they fight an evil monster in the app, who is bent on spreading cavities across the land.

To kill the monster, they need to shoot bubbles at it. As the monster runs around the screen, the user also needs to move around and brush their toothbrush thoroughly inside their mouths to keep shooting.

This isn't the first time a company used a game to trick kids into brushing their teeth. In 2014, a company called Grush created a toothbrush with a built-in motion sensor that worked with a mobile game app. Two years later, Intel demoed Grush onstage. Unlike Grush, however, Magik uses augmented reality to combine real-time brushing footage and fun digital effects with the game.

During a brief demonstration I saw, it looked a little ridiculous to have a user brush their teeth with one hand while holding a phone to their face with another. But Kolibree says it will bundle its toothbrush with a phone holder to keep one hand free.

To prevent over brushing (which can cause gum damage at any age), the game can only be played up to three times a day. Parents will also be sent data each time their child plays, receiving information like the time of day their kids brush their teeth and the duration of brushing.

While the gaming app is confined to a phone screen so far, in the distant future, a Kolibree rep said, it'd be ideal for a smart mirror to project the game, so kids can play the game without the need for a phone.

The Magik toothbrush is set to be available some time later this year for "under $30" apiece, a representative at the company's booth said. Considering the American Dental Association says you should replace your toothbrush every three-to-four months, that could mean as much as "under $120" a year. That representative said that while it may seem like a high price, it's lower than filling a cavity.

For now at least, Kolibree offers a solution to not only get kids to brush their teeth, but have fun while they do.

CNET's Ian Sherr contributed to this report.

First published Jan. 8, 5:00 a.m. PT.
Update, 9:45 a.m.: Adds details about the toothbrush's pricing.

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