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German tech gets teeth ultra-clean

Emmi-Dent ultrasonic toothbrush, by Emmi-Tech Inc.

Emmi-Dent ultrasonic toothbrush, by Emmi-Tech Inc.

$189 at

We’ve all seen electric toothbrushes. Well, here’s an electronic one, a
German-made device distributed by a company in Canton. The Emmi-Dent uses ultrasonic vibrations to kill mouth bacteria and polish teeth. So claims the company, and after using it for a week, I think they’re onto something.

The Emmi-Dent takes getting used to. It requires a specially formulated toothpaste that’s pretty expensive: $12 for two eight-ounce tubes. And you don’t actually­ brush your teeth with the device. Instead, you press the bristles of the brush against your teeth, one or two at a time, while the Emmi-Dent vibrates against them. Getting at every tooth surface took me anywhere from seven to 10 minutes, compared to the usual two-minute scrub with a standard brush. But a company spokeswoman told me I was spending way too much time per tooth, and I’m inclined to believe her.

In any case, I was impressed with the results. The Emmi-Dent left my teeth feeling cleaner than usual, almost as if they’d been professionally polished. And while I’m not quite certain of it, they appear a little whiter than before.


Considering the high cost of the Emmi-Dent and its toothpaste, and the extra time needed to use them, I’ll soon go back to my old-school brushing. But among people obsessed with dental hygiene, this ultrasonic­ toothbrush may create quite a buzz.

Waze road navigation app

Free for Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones

I love the way iPhones and Android phones display traffic conditions by anonymously tracking the speed and location of thousands of smartphones. Here’s a smart little app that takes this concept a good deal further.

You load up Waze and like other navigation apps, it generates a colorful roadmap and provides turn-by-turn driving directions. But Waze lets users provide real-time updates on road conditions. Say an accident occurs ahead of you, causing an instant traffic jam. With a few touches of your phone, you can record a spoken warning to all the other nearby Waze users. You can even shoot a photo of the wreckage and pass it along.


Of course, you shouldn’t be fiddling with a phone while driving. But Waze keeps the tinkering to a minimum. It takes four screen taps to send a typical voice message — not too distracting when the phone’s mounted on your dashboard,

Like nearly everything else on smartphones these days, Waze has a social component. You can share your travels with Facebook friends and Twitter followers, or join groups of “Wazers” who drive the same roads every day. It’s a new level of personalization for driving apps, and it makes Waze an attractive option for travelers.

iStabilizer Dolly smartphone camera mount

$41.99 at

Today’s smartphone cameras are good enough for serious video work. That’s why so many cool accessories­ are being made for them. Like this one, a wheeled camera mount that makes it easy to get professional-looking motion shots.

The dolly is a simple wheeled gadget that rolls smoothly across a floor or a tabletop on four clear rubber wheels. An articulated arm screws onto the base of the dolly, and this arm supports a clip-on phone holder where you can attach just about any standard smartphone in just a few seconds.

Now you can point the phone’s camera in any direction, switch it on, and shoot video as you roll the dolly. There’s no system to absorb vibrations, so the rolling surface needs to be quite smooth. Also, because of the dolly’s small size, it’s not much use for eye-level shots. But for panning shots at ground level or on a tabletop, the Dolly performs well.


It’s not intended for ­casual shooters. But the iStabilizer Dolly is just the thing to add a touch of class to your smartphone videos.

Hiawatha Bray can be reached at