More hardware startups are looking at everyday tools that have been relatively unchanged for a long time, like the HAPIFork we saw at CES this year. Today, a new startup called Wayki is adding its innovative toothbrush design to the list of gadgets hoping to improve the lifestyle of users by adding a modern tech spin to an age-old tool.
The Wayki is a toothbrush that doubles as an alarm clock, but rather than just being a roughshod combination of the two, it uses the alarm function to reinforce toothbrushing action and hopefully ingrain some good health habits for users. The alarm can’t be snoozed, and it can only be deactivated by inserting the Wayki brush head into the base, which in turn triggers the two-minute brush timer (I always thought you were supposed to go for five minutes per session, but that might be overkill, according to Wayki).
Wayki advertises its lack of a snooze function as a feature, designed to address studies that show delaying that morning start can lead to bad sleep cycles and lower productivity throughout the day. Dave Hawkins, Wayki’s lead designer, says that his own personal experience with putting off his morning start is what prompted the inclusion of that particular feature.
“I’ll often find myself tapping the snooze button, regret it later, and in a sudden hurry forget to clean my teeth before staring at my screen for the rest of the day,” he explained in an email interview. “Even when I remember, I’ll be too impatient to wait for the full 2 minutes.”
Hawkins thinks that technology can best help individuals with improving wellness and health by taking away any remaining friction in the process, essentially making things automatic for users, and the Wayki is designed around that principle.
“I think the best products do the thinking for you, and with brushing being a chore I realised that the most efficient approach was going to be removing the decision-making process from the equation. “Mental weight is a bigger challenge than physical weight. It’s far less apparent that the weight is even there.”
They Wayki is seeking £50,000 (around $80,000 US) in funding, using Selfstarter, the open source crowdfunding platform developed by Lockitron to help get its own project off the ground. Pre-orders go for £49 ($77 US), or 50 percent off of the anticipated retail price, and the first devices are expected to ship in the next three to five months. While Wayki is initially only available for shoppers in the U.K., Hawkins says that it should be available worldwide in time for its official launch.