Schemes for ‘harvesting’ energy range from electricity-generating dancefloors to knee dynamos. But there is now a new option – patented last month by the Colgate-Palmolive Company (New York), the ‘Oral care implement with mechanical energy harvesting‘. During use, the invention employs piezoelectric devices to generate electricity from the stresses-and-strains caused by bending the toothbrush head and/or bristles. Thus the brush can not only provide current suitable to power onboard circuitry and LEDs etc. it could also (theoretically at least) offload its accumulated energy back into a national electrical grid – thereby reducing one’s utility bill. Perhaps it could be called a Reverse Electric Toothbrush?
Also see: Perception of Electric Toothbrushes (Improbable Research, Dec. 2010)