Introduction: Toothbrushing Instructor

Picture of Toothbrushing Instructor

Kids just aren't huge fans of brushing their teeth. Not only are they not huge fans, they also are pretty bad at it. Teaching a young kid to brush their teeth is really hard. I created a little contraption that not only times them to make sure they brush for an entire two minutes, but also tells them what part of their mouth they should be brushing! Now kids can't claim they didn't know what to do, since the Toothbrush Instructor told them!

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

We'll make use of quite a few different grove sensors here for fast and easy prototyping. If you can, pick up the Arduino Grove Starter kit. It comes with a Grove base shield that is compatible with the LinkIT ONE, and tons of different sensors (and also the exact ones you need for this project!).

  • LinkIT ONE Board
  • Grove RGB LCD
  • Grove Button
  • Grove Arduino Base Shield
  • Grove Buzzer

Step 2: Hooking Up All Your Grove Sensors

Picture of Hooking Up All Your Grove Sensors

Firs step might be pretty obvious: Hook up all those Grove Sensors! Because we're using Grove, it makes it easier than ever to connect and interface with sensors. Simply plug in your Arduino Base shield to the LinkIT ONE (the pins should match up perfectly) and then plug in the different sensors.

Plug the RGB LCD into an I2C port.

Plug the Buzzer into D2

Plug in the Button to D3

Step 3: Controlling the RGB LCD

Picture of Controlling the RGB LCD

First, let's take a look at controlling our RGB LCD. In order to interface with the Grove RGB LCD, you'll need to download their external library here and install it to your Arduino IDE. I've attached the code file for you to review, but let's walk through it a bit to make sure we understand it.

#include "rgb_lcd.h"

First, make sure to include the RGB LCD library so we can easily control our lcd.

rgb_lcd lcd;
const int colorR = 0;
const int colorG = 0;
const int colorB = 230;

lcd.setRGB(colorR, colorG, colorB);

Now, create an RGB LCD object for us to control. Set some default colors (we'll just stick with blue, you're free to mess with this though!)

lcd.print("Hello, World!");

Now, print something to the screen!

Step 4: Controlling the Button and Buzzer

Picture of Controlling the Button and Buzzer

Next, let's go through how we will control the button and buzzer. Let's set it up so that the button will trigger the buzzer to 'buzz'.

pinMode(6, OUTPUT);

pinMode(buttonPin, INPUT);

Define the pins that the button and buzzer are connected too.

if (digitalRead(buttonPin) == HIGH) {     
//Button is Pressed! }

For the button, we'll detect a 'HIGH' signal. That means that the button is pressed down. 'LOW' means it is un-pressed.

//Buzz the Buzzer!
digitalWrite(6, HIGH);
delay(analogRead(0)); digitalWrite(6, LOW); delay(analogRead(0));

For the buzzer, we'll do something similar. We'll emit a LOW signal when we want it to be off, and a 'HIGH' signal when we want it to buzz!

Step 5: Putting It All Together

Picture of Putting It All Together

Now that we've had a quick intro to all of our grove sensors, let's add them all together to create our toothbrushing instructor!

Clicking the button will start the timer and signal a buzz. The screen will then display a countdown clock and tell the user where they should be brushing. There are 4 steps:

- Outside Top Teeth (30 sec)

- Inside Top Teeth (30 sec)

- Outside Bottom Teeth (30 sec)

- Inside Bottom Teeth (30 sec)

Yes, if you're a dentist reading this you're probably exclaiming that it is way more complicated than this, but I needed a simple procedure (using simple words) that a 6 year old could understand.

Every time it changes a step, it gives a buzz to let the user know that it is time to switch brushing styles.

When it is done, it goes back into 'sleep' mode where it waits for the next person to hit the button!

Step 6: Going Forward

Picture of Going Forward

You've done it! Now you have a fully fledged toothbrush timer to help your little ones remember to brush their teeth and how to do it. Hopefully this project has served you well and given your kids (or yourself) a whiter smile!

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