OralCaddy (2016)

A prototype for a data streaming oral health caddy.

Oral health is an important yet often neglected part of overwell health and wellness [1]. The mouth is a window into the health of the body [2]. Systemic diseases that affect the entire body may first show signs in the mouth in the form of lesions or other oral problems.

To advance research in this area at Northeastern University and in collaboration with the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, I designed and implemented this prototype caddy that seamlessly integrates sensors to collect data on brushing and flossing for behavioral health research and to support oral health promotion and prevention.

An LED is located near the base of each of the dental item compartments. They activate to indicate and remind the user to use a particular item such as the floss. An larger front flat panel LED in the base of the device can provide ambient awareness lighting and be automated to light up to reminder the user whether one has completed any oral health activity recently and progress towards health behavioral goals. Force sensing resistors (FSR) are used in each holder of the caddy to detect removal and replacement of the items and activates data collection on the quantities of these activities. Data can be then sent wirelessly for analysis to inform health coaching.

I 3D printed early models for feasibility evaluation. The final prototype as shown here was implemented using an off-the-shelf acrylic caddy modified to hold the toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss in an easily accessible way. All logic and sensing is driven by a Raspberry Pi 3 single-board computer which can be battery operated or plugged in. Logic and GPIO control is programmed using python. Data connectivity supporting wired or wireless protocols and general functionality can be further expanded to support future research and health intervention needs.

[1] Integrating Oral Health into the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Curriculum
[2] http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/


Front view of the caddy.


Top view of the caddy showing force sensors at the base of each holder.


Liquid plastic is used to raise the level of one of the holders to improve ease of access of the items.



Testing status indicator lighting aesthetic on an early prototype. The frosted material allows for ambient lighting effects.