Today, we are back with a new major update which will outline:
- The last update in short
- Final assessments of bacteria levels and UNOfoam as a component
- A significant shift in the core brushing component
- Update on estimated production plan
1. The last update in short
As explained in our last update, having the resources to obtain and use more advanced equipment enabled us to test the bacteria growth in UNOfoam together with toothpaste and with different levels of water hardness. The tests showed that residual buildup of toothpaste over time creates a protective shield and diminishes the effectiveness of the UV light and its ability to penetrate into the core of UNOfoam to kill bacteria. That lead us to a false positive of the UV light cleaning effectiveness during our initial tests.
You can read our last update here to fully understand our tests and the challenges we encountered.
2. Final assessments of bacteria levels and UNOfoam
Our reaction to this challenge was trying to bring down the bacteria levels in the UNOfoam by testing alternative UV light solutions and potentially other cleaning methods. With regards to this, we have reached the following conclusions:
We have spent the last two months, seeking out the possibility to increase the intensity of the UV-light and we have reached the conclusion that it would still not sufficiently kill bacteria at the core. The toothpaste and different levels of water hardness continuously create a protective shield and diminish the effectiveness of the UV light and its ability to penetrate the core of UNOfoam to kill bacteria. So, this is not a feasible way of going forward.
We have also looked into alternative cleaning methods, however, considering that these are in the concept stage, they would take a considerable amount of time and money to either further research or adapt to our product. All in all, we then had to take an overall look on the foam and determine whether this material would be viable in the context of our commitment of delivering a product for fast, hygienic, reasonably priced, and environmentally sustainable teeth cleaning.
3. Why we chose UNOfoam
When creating the UNOBRUSH our key goals have always been to deliver an effective, time-efficient and sustainable solution that would require no user technique to brush thoroughly.
When deciding our brushing component for a mouthpiece, we naturally had several different concepts that were all at different stages of product development matureness. We chose to continue developing UNOfoam as it had more beneficial features than our other concepts:
1) The most important reason was the design and structure of the UNOfoam which is simpler compared to some of the alternative concepts. This would keep the manufacturing costs low and hence allow a lower unit price.
2) Another important reason was the low weight of the UNOfoam. As you know, we intend to have our own subscription service called UNOsupply. UNOsupply would ensure new brushing components were delivered every month. In this context a lower weight would contribute to lower shipping costs, that again would allow us to ship the UNOfoam to you at a cheaper price.
What we know now, but did not know back then, was that UNOfoam also has some challenges:
- The impact of the toothpaste’s residual buildup on the UV light’s ability to clean
- The impact of different levels of water hardness on the UV light’s ability to clean
- The environmental footprint - if the brushing component was to be exchanged more often than expected, this would increase the environmental impact.
Due to these challenges, we then determined what it would take to change the structure of the UNOfoam - in terms of time and costs. Our analysis showed that the project would be delayed significantly in addition to being quite costly. Also, our technical team could not guarantee that it would work as intended, and we would, therefore, be risking further delay.
Taking everything into account, we have now decided to replace the brushing component, UNOfoam. We understand that some of you may see this as disappointing news but rest assured that our solution will still deliver on fast and effective brushing and that we are still committed to delivering a fully functioning and effective UNOBRUSH.
4. Bristles instead of UNOfoam
As entrepreneurs, we know the importance of an ongoing innovation process throughout the product development and production maturing process.
As soon as the first challenges with UNOfoam started to appear back in February, we made the strategic decision to put together a parallel team of developers and engineers. This team was tasked with developing a brushing component that could deliver the three major functionalities that are core in our product: Effectiveness, quality of brushing and speed of cleaning. This was to ensure that we had another solution in place in case we would meet critical challenges with UNOfoam.
Like any new tech company, we have had a plethora of different ideas and prototypes that we had developed before choosing UNOfoam. When we turned to these previous prototypes we had built, we identified the one with most potential. This was high-density nylon bristles for the brushing component.
Looking at the following three major attributes that are core in our product, a bristle brushing component meets the criteria.
- Effectiveness: In the case of bristles the user will still not need to learn any specific methods to get an optimal dental cleanse.
- Quality of brushing: Bristles will still deliver a consistent and thorough brush.
- Speed of cleaning: In the case of bristles, the speed of cleaning will still be within seconds.
Another positive aspect of high-density nylon bristles is that it is easier to keep the mouthpiece clean, and so the need for replacing it will decrease significantly. This will allow the user to keep using the same mouthpiece for approximately three to four months’ time, allowing UNOBRUSH to have a much lower environmental impact, which we know a lot of you appreciate.
Based on this, we decided to exchange UNOfoam with high-density nylon bristles, UNObristles. Thanks to the hard work by our parallel team, we are already now close to being ready for a test production with the high-density nylon bristles mouthpiece. After filing for the patent, which we expect to be done within one to two months, we will also share visuals of the new mouthpiece; the results of cleaning; the plaque test and before/after photos.
It is solely the brushing component that will undergo change. The rest of the product components i.e. the base module and docking station have just been optimized for enhanced user experience.
Some of you might wonder why we did not implement the UNObristle into the design in the first place if it equals UNOfoam when it comes to quality.
When initially working with the idea of bristles we encountered a challenge related to the manufacturing process of implanting the bristles into a complex design which the mouthpiece is. Traditional toothbrushes that feature nylon bristles have a single and a straight surface in contrast to the many curved surfaces of a shaped mouthpiece. As our parallel team of engineers further developed the R&D into the bristles, we were able to overcome this challenge by developing a uniquely designed manufacturing process, which has been groundbreaking for us and our manufacturer. As developing such a process requiring uniquely designed equipment is costly, we did not initially pursue this idea further ahead of the Kickstarter campaign.
You also might wonder how come we have had this backup plan ready at hand.
As explained earlier we put together at parallel team a while ago to reduce any possible delay if we found out we could not use UNOfoam as intended.
By working on a backup plan we were trying to be as prepared as possible and in the event any critical challenges came up it would be just a short pivot over to a new brushing component. So, the reason we were working in tandem on a parallel product was to avoid further delays for you, our backers. Therefore, we made the difficult and expensive decision to have a parallel team full time for the past couple of months in order to minimize delay if we had to make a shift over to a new brushing component. We went ahead with it as soon as we saw that there might be challenges with UNOfoam, which has proven to be a good decision.
We have now cracked and solved the challenge of a mouthpiece with nylon bristles. Other similar solutions on the market have been tested and it can be concluded that they do not work as intended. The main reason they do not work is because they all use silicone bristles as their brushing component, where we instead will be using high-density nylon bristles.
The nylon bristle has been used in toothbrushes for centuries and has been the industry standard for teeth cleaning products, but in its current form in manual and electric toothbrushes it has one or several shortcomings i.e. it is ineffective, requires technique and is time consuming. UNOBRUSH was created to deliver a product that would overcome these shortcomings and deliver easy, fast and effective toothbrushing and with UNObristles we have developed a feasible, new and innovative way to accomplish this.
5. Estimated production plan
The good news is that we are confident that we will deliver pledges in Q1 2020!
Due tothe current shift we are right now working through the changes this has brought to our production. So, the production plan will be defined in detail in the next update, as we are working through the additional details of the changes with the manufactures to update the production plan.
We ask for your patience along with your understanding and trust in our process and project, and that changes or product-related adjustments will always be based on delivering a product that meets the functionality and cleaning effectiveness initially defined.
We appreciate the many comments and interest in the project, and we look forward to updating you again soon.
6. Other news
Packaging and bar codes
Because of the changes to the brushing component we are working through the tweaks this has brought in the packaging design. We have also registered the necessary barcodes for the UNOBRUSH and all the different components, and we will soon be ready to share images and photos of the samples.
We know a lot of backers want to see photos of the product, and we really want to show you those product shots, but we have been advised not to show them before we have all our IP-protection in place. Therefore we wanted to share a couple of images of us at our office, so that you hopefully get a sense of what it feels like and how we are setup within the UNOBRUSH Team. We will be back with product visuals as soon as we can. We can't wait to show them to you!
All of us at the UNOBRUSH office wish you a nice autumn,. Thank you for your interest in the project, and we look forward to updating you again soon.