Business / Corporate

Kyocera, Lion and Sony team up to test the market for music-playing children's toothbrushes

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Brushing small children’s teeth can be one of the tougher parts of child rearing, particularly as it can be quite a chore just to get them to sit still long enough to complete the task.

To help parents who struggle with this daily ordeal, Kyocera Corp. and Lion Corp. have test launched a music-playing toothbrush through a crowdfunding project that kicked off Wednesday, with the aim being to determine if there is enough demand for such a device.

The toothbrush, named Possi, is equipped with Kyocera’s own high-tech piezoelectric ceramic material installed in the brush head.

To work, the Possi brush needs to be connected via an audio cable to a music playing device, such as a smartphone. The smart material converts the sound data from the audio device according to vibrations, allowing the brushing movement and music to be synchronized.

As a father of three, Kyocera engineer Tomohiro Inagaki has first-hand experience of trying to brush his children’s teeth.

“I hope that we can deliver the Possi toothbrush to fathers and mothers that have struggled with the same trouble and make their lives easier,” said Inagaki during a news conference in Tokyo.

“We want children to have fun when brushing their teeth.”

Piezoelectric ceramic materials are also used in other products, including smartphones, to provide better sound quality when making phone calls. Inagaki said Kyocera’s technology can make it small enough to install on a toothbrush head.

The Possi project is being test marketed on Sony Corp.’s First Flight crowdfunding site, with the aim of attracting ¥20 million. The product is priced at ¥17,500.

Inagaki said if they fail to raise ¥20 million, the product will not be shipped and money will be refunded. If they reach the goal, they will consider making it available to general consumers.

Sony is also part of the project. Possi is being developed under the Sony Startup Acceleration Program, through which the electronics giant supports startups and new businesses by providing the company’s know-how.