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This Toothbrushing App Was Reprogrammed to Be Less Addictive

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Getting kids to brush their teeth can be challenging. Philips Sonicare recently released an app-enabled toothbrush that not only does this, but also encourages them to brush better and for longer. Unfortunately, an early version of the app was so effective that it had the unintended side effect of keeping enthusiastic players awake past their bedtimes.

The new Philips Sonicare for Kids toothbrush connects to an app that rewards little ones for brushing each of the four quadrants of their mouth for up to two minutes. An adorable, computer-generated fluff ball called Sparkly is the star of the game, and when children brush their teeth they can see Sparkly brushing along with them. Brushing earns them points, which they can then use to customize and feed their Sparkly.

Boon Lai, VP of marketing for Philips Health and Wellness compared the app to Tamagotchi, the addictive digital pet from the '90s. Ninety-eight percent of parents said the app made it easier to get kids to brush better and longer versus using a toothbrush alone.

The downside: some young players just couldn't tear themselves away from Sparkly, even after they'd finish brushing. To address this, Philips reprogrammed the app so that Sparkly now collapses in exhaustion shortly after the brushing is compete.

Philips is now planning to develop an app-connected toothbrush designed for adults. Sounds like the perfect antidote to our Candy Crush addiction.

[h/t: Gizmodo]

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ESA/ATG
The European Space Agency Needs Help Naming Its New Mars Rover
ESA/ATG
ESA/ATG

The European Space Agency is hosting a competition to find a snazzy new name for its ExoMars rover, Sky News reports. The rover will be deployed to Mars in 2020, so the winner would be playing a small role in the progress of space exploration.

At the contest's launch, British astronaut Tim Peake described Mars as a place where humans and robots will someday work together to search for evidence of life in our solar system. To this end, the ExoMars rover, which will land on Mars in 2021, will drill up to two meters into the planet’s soil and collect samples, the ESA notes. "The ExoMars rover is a vital part of this journey of exploration, and we're asking you to become part of this exciting mission and name the rover that will scout the Martian surface,” Peake said.

However, the agency is well aware of past public naming contests that have gone horribly wrong (we’re looking at you, Boaty McBoatface), so it’s rigged the rules to prevent such a spectacle. Instead of a public poll, suggestions will be submitted privately to the agency, which has created a panel of judges to choose the winning name.

The winner of the contest will also receive a trip to Stevenage, England, where they’ll get to see the Airbus facility where the rover is being pieced together. The contest is only open to citizens of the two dozen European countries that are partners in the ESA.

To enter, submit your name suggestion online before October 10, 2018, along with a brief explanation (under 150 words) of why your name should be chosen. Click the following PDF link to see the full terms and conditions [PDF].

[h/t Sky News]

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Fearless Man Slices 26 Watermelons on His Stomach in 60 Seconds, Setting New Record
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iStock

Ashrita Furman, a 63-year-old New Yorker who holds the world record for setting the most Guinness World Records, just achieved another one. This time, it was for the most watermelons sliced on top of his stomach in 60 seconds, Nerdist reports.

Furman came up with the idea for the record himself, and while he didn’t have any competition, Guinness stipulated that he had to slice at least 20 watermelons to be recognized. He managed to cut through 26 melons with his tool of choice, a katana, in less than a minute. (He walked away without a scratch.)

Check out this spectacle (and serious ab workout) for yourself:

“I’m really thrilled,” Furman told Reuters after pulling off the feat. “My first reaction is I’m relieved that I didn’t kill myself and the second is that I’m exhilarated because it is not only a skillful record, but also it’s something that I invented and now it’s out there and other people can challenge it.”

Furman, who has been called “Mr. Versatility,” currently holds more than 200 Guinness records. He set his very first record in 1979 after completing 27,000 jumping jacks, and he hasn’t slowed down since. In the past near-40 years he has set the record for—among other feats—the most knives caught in a minute (54); the greatest distance traveled while juggling on a pogo stick (4 miles, 30 feet); and most grapes caught in his mouth in one minute (86).

[h/t Nerdist]

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