There’s no shortage of gadgets at CES ready to invade the last bastion of privacy at home: the bathroom. The intruders aren’t just startups hoping to revolutionize the way we use the bathroom or even companies that manufacture the fixtures we need to get ready each morning. Brands that make personal hygiene products — like Bic, Oral-B, and Charmin — also want in on the action.
These brands want to start collecting data as they get closer to our crevices. In exchange, they offer detailed information about how much grime is on our teeth — or even how much our poop stinks. In theory, users can have more personalized personal time, and the companies can get some more information as they start building their next iteration of devices. But do we really need any of this? Probably not.
Bic unveiled a prototype for an AI-enabled razor and accompanying app on January 6th. The shaver tracks everything from hair density, shaving speed, the number of strokes, time spent shaving, and blade dullness to environmental factors like temperature and humidity. All of that information is supposed to deliver its users a more personalized shave and improve the razors of the future. The company is enlisting people to try out the prototype so that it can gather data to “create its next generation of shavers, perfectly adapted to today’s users, their different skin types and their shaving habits,” according to its website.
While the benefits of Bic’s data collection might still be ahead, a new generation of smart toothbrushes is already vying for a spot in our medicine cabinets. Oral-B and Colgate have toothbrushes on the market that can tell you how to brush better by tracking your movements while you’re in the act. They brought new models to CES again this year. Colgate’s new Plaqless Pro Toothbrush glows blue when it comes across plaque buildup. Just think of it like the blade Sting from The Lord of the Rings in the presence of orcs… if the orcs were fortifying locations in your mouth instead of Middle-earth.
Charmin didn’t take itself too seriously while imagining the bathroom of the future at CES. It showed off a prototype sensor, shaped like its trademark bear, that “sniffs” the air so that it can warn you if the bathroom smells awful. It works by detecting carbon dioxide or hydrogen sulfide “found in a *toot* or *two*,” according to a press release. Based on the sensor’s reading, a separate display monitor will indicate if it’s safe to enter the bathroom or if you’re in for a doozy. Charmin’s also got a prototype “RollBot,” which is a robot shaped like a bear that you can summon to grab a new roll of toilet paper using your smartphone if you’re ever in a pinch.
“The concepts we’re bringing to CES are a playful way to showcase our relentless obsession with helping people Enjoy the Go now and into the future,” Rob Reinerman, Charmin’s brand director, said in a statement.
Do consumers need brands’ “relentless obsession” with enhancing our most intimate moments? Kohler has a smart toilet, mirror, showerhead, and tub to perfectly set the mood with lights, sound, and temperature controls. But razors, toothbrushes, and toilet paper — stuff we get so up close and personal with — are a different ballgame. Personal hygiene products probably don’t need to worry about getting left behind if they don’t hop on the “smart home” bandwagon. We’ll still need something to wipe our butts.