Teeth Cleaning Application for the Micro:Bit

This will be my first application for the Micro:Bit and my first Internet of Things type application from idea to delivery.

The problem

Simple. I get bored easily. While doing the bedtime ritual I am not sure that I or the small person I am cajoling to bed are actually spending enough time brushing our teeth. We could simply put a clock in the bathroom but better still we can make a device that counts down 3 minutes and reminds us what we should be brushing?

Set up 

I had a micro:bit left over from my Hack Day’s and just needed to decide how to code the device. As I was waiting for jury service I tried connecting with using my iPhone which worked great. However, I found the Microsoft Touch Develop a little too difficult to navigate. Once I was back at home I played with the various other IDE’s. I toyed with the idea of using mbed a platform and operating system for Internet-connected devices based on 32-bit ARM Cortex-M microcontroller. Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 12.39.20 PM

However, I settled for the Microsoft Touch Developer as is code (rather than drag and drop based) and has a nice debug visual of the micro:bit.


My dentist would have been an ideal person to ask but as she wasn’t around I used a paste manufacturer to define the intervals of what should be brushed.

Trial and Error  

I had a few attempts at creating the code. Setting a variable for the count down and then showing a message at certain points. The logic was sound but the code circular and unwieldy. Until I discovered the Games functions.

Game Functions

There are two that we need.

  • Game start countdown. You can set a value in milliseconds to determine the duration of the game. In this case 3 minutes if teeth brushing equals 180000 milliseconds. .
  • Game is running. This returns a boolean value of yes or no.

Using these the applicaton worked a treat and was about two lines of code. So gergeous.


Update :  In the end I joined the Micro:Bit Educational Foundation as an Advisor and on my first the CEO’s daughter decided to take on the challenge for me