P&G Launches Smart Toothbrush
Oral-B, the toothbrush brand from the Procter & Gamble Co., announced on Friday it is launching Oral-B Triumph with SmartGuide, a wireless display that allows users to time their brushing....
The company says SmartGuide combines the brushhead, handle and visual display so users receive prompts from microchips. These prompts tell users when they are brushing too hard, when to move to the next quadrant of the mouth and when brushing has lasted two minutes. It also indicates when it is time to replace the brushhead.
One of the weaknesses of mainstream economic theory is the way that we think of preferences. In particular, we typically assume that preferences for particular goods or attributes are an intrinsic, or primitive, aspect of the individual. However, the example above reminds us of something that John Kenneth Galbraith pointed out: businesses are constantly working to create preferences for goods we never imagined we might want. (Here's Brad De Long's review of Richard Parker's fine biography of Galbraith, who passed away last year).