[Joe Grand’s] Toothbrush Plays Music That Doesn’t Suck

It’s not too exciting that [Joe Grand] has a toothbrush that plays music inside your head. That’s actually a trick that the manufacturer pulled off. It’s that [Joe] gave his toothbrush an SD card slot for music that doesn’t suck.

The victim donor hardware for this project is a toothbrush meant for kids called Tooth Tunes. They’ve been around for years, but unless you’re a kid (or a parent of one) you’ve never heard of them. That’s because they generally play the saccharine sounds of Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers which make adults choose cavities over dental health. However, we’re inclined to brush the enamel right off of our teeth if we can listen to The Amp Hour, Embedded FM, or the Spark Gap while doing so. Yes, we’re advocating for a bone-conducting, podcasting toothbrush.

[Joe’s] hack starts by cracking open the neck of the brush to cut the wires going to a transducer behind the brushes (his first attempt is ugly but the final process is clean and minimal). This allows him to pull out the guts from the sealed battery compartment in the handle. In true [Grand] fashion he rolled a replacement PCB that fits in the original footprint, adding an SD card and replacing the original microcontroller with an ATtiny85. He goes the extra mile of making this hack a polished work by also designing in an On/Off controller (MAX16054) which delivers the tiny standby current needed to prevent the batteries from going flat in the medicine cabinet.

Check out his video showcasing the hack below. You don’t get an audio demo because you have to press the thing against the bones in your skull to hear it. The OEM meant for this to press against your teeth, but now we want to play with them for our own hacks. Baseball cap headphones via bone conduction? Maybe.

Update: [Joe] wrote in to tell us he published a demonstration of the audio. It uses a metal box as a sounding chamber in place of the bones in our head.

40 thoughts on “[Joe Grand’s] Toothbrush Plays Music That Doesn’t Suck

  1. Now I’m gonna go kickstart a ripoff.

    “Dental Information Superhighway for the busy executive on the go. Scrapes influential news stories while you sleep! Delivers them to you via a selectable Voice Avatar as you brush your teeth! Stock quotes from international markets! First 1000 orders get a FM radio version for the Trophy Spouse.”

    … and it would have enough blingy tasteless gold and rhinestone handle insets to make your eyes melt, or want to put them out free in every bathroom in the Whitehouse.

  2. The neck of the Tooth Tunes flexes backwards and presses a button to make it louder.
    I think the neck will now press at the Amp.

    How did you solve that? Or is there a newer version that didn’t have this pushbutton on the backside?

  3. This reminds me of a story I heard years ago about someone or multiple people with fillings that could hear the radio, Being a bit skeptical I would have tried to research it at the time but I was a lot younger and I didn’t have internet at the time. Does anyone know if this was true or if they heard the same stories etc? I mean AM sounds plausible if a transmitter is nearby and silver is a good electrical conductor.

      1. Cool thanks for that. i think the only credible way to intercept would be microwave radio transmissions as the antenna would be small enough but I doubt those would be sent in an analog format. It would need logic to decyther whatever was going on.

        1. All you need is a diode really. It could have been more common decades ago when there were a bunch of different dental amalgams around, and some of them might have had arsenic impurities forming oxides at point of contact with other metals.

          A tuned circuit is more for discrimination. This would work more like the spark gap days, if a local signal was 1000 times stronger than anything else, it would be picked up.

      2. Mythbusters only manage a rigorous bust about 20% of the time… sometimes it’s even damn obvious they proved it, but declare a bust because it’s dangerous don’t want kiddies screwing around at home to replicate.

        1. Yeah I agree while I did love myth-busters sometimes I could even find flaws in their logic not often just occasionally, And yeah I think you are right sometimes it was a bust to stop kids playing around trying to replicate.
          I am not a 9/11 “truther” I believe the general events that were told however I think Mythbusters should have gone and done something on that.

  4. Very cool! If I were doing it, though, I think I’d go with a bluetooth conversion instead. Seems more practical for the length of time it’s in use. If practical is the goal, anyway. ;)

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