In my lifetime, I have borne witness to the relentless pace of progress, from electric kettles that switch themselves off, to the point where my mobile telephone now packs more computing power than the rocket that first put man on the moon. But a toothbrush with built-in Wi-Fi? Surely this is taking things too far?
And yet here it is, the Braun/Oral B Triumph 9900 Smartguide, complete with an instruction manual that warns you to switch off wireless functions when using on a plane.
The toothbrush in question, you see, is designed to be used in tandem with the supplied remote display unit, which divides your mouth into quadrants, and ensures that you spend no less than 30 seconds brushing each one.
As the quadrant changes, the black and white LCD screen flashes, and you move slowly around your gnashers. The brush itself, meanwhile, automatically detects what sort of brush-head you have attached, and varies its movements accordingly.
Polishing and flossing attachments are provided, and based on the disappearance of tea stains from my (guinea pig) wife's lower teeth after 8 days' use, they seem to work.
For her, the arrival of this supercharged scrubber was perfectly timed. After 10 years, the rechargeable battery of her plain old Braun/Oral B toothbrush had died the death the previous week. While we struggle to work out where old brushes go to be recycled, since the batteries are not detachable, the old brush has provided an interesting point of comparison.
The first great step forward with the new one is that way it's recharged. Whereas the oldie stood on a pronged base in the manner of an electric kettle, the new one charges through contact with a loop. You simply stand your brush in the middle of a circular thingy that plugs into the mains (two-pronged plug but no adapter supplied), and in 12 hours your battery goes from empty to full. How do they do it? Magnets or witchcraft, with my money on the latter. Whatever, it works a treat.
Nevertheless, for all the apparent results and ease of use, it's hard not to have some reservations about a toothbrush that comes with a retail tag of around £100 (another model without the remote screen is available for around £60 less). For instance: if you have reached the age and income where this represents a reasonable outlay, and you still have your own teeth, then the chances are that you know how to brush them already.
Then there's the price of the brush-heads to consider. Once they indicate that they're worn out by changing colour, you need to dig back into your pockets for the sort of money that would have been a reasonable week's wages back when man first landed on the moon. But, hey, that's the price of progress.
It's a vibrating toothbrush that brushes teeth. And it works. The charging is simple and effective and it feels well-built and solid. But the LCD screen feels like a gimmick.
You want to impress me with a remote screen? Build in a DAB radio. Otherwise, my money would go on the next model down, the Standard, which trusts adults to know how to perform their own dental hygiene routines.