CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application is a continuation of International Application No. PCT/IB2010/052258, filed May 20, 2010, which claims priority to EP 09006802.4, filed May 20, 2009, the substance of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present disclosure relates to a body care appliance for personal use, in particular in the form of an oral care system. More particularly, the present disclosure relates to a toothbrush and a display device for displaying interactive representations that can be controlled interactively from the toothbrush by means of a control device.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 In order to increase the incentive for regular brushing, brushing devices are provided with screens or displays on which video games are shown that can be controlled interactively from the toothbrush. Children in particular are motivated by the additionally provided entertainment value to brush their teeth regularly. Alternatively or in addition to pure entertainment games, instructions for the efficient and effective brushing of the teeth can also be shown thereby, for example, in such a way that the toothbrush user copies the image sequences shown.
 For example WO 2007/112112 A1 describes a brushing device in which a screen is provided on the base station for charging the toothbrush, on which screen video games are shown during use. The video game can be controlled hereby from the toothbrush. On the one hand, the toothbrush has manually actuatable input keys for entering control commands for the video game. On the other hand, brushing parameters such as contact pressure and accelerations occurring during the brushing movements are sensed at the toothbrush by means of various sensors, wherein the video game on the screen is controlled based on these sensed parameters. In order to show a respectively suitable video game for a respective user, the attachment of the toothbrush is identified by means of an identification code, depending on which the video game or its game rules are selected. Even though a certain adaptation to the individual user is guaranteed by these means, the degree of the personalization as well as the adaptability to the respective needs is limited.
 From US 2008/0102953 A1, a toothbrush is likewise known that is embodied as an input device for controlling a game console, in order to control a video game thereon. A sensor attached to the brush detects brush movements, wherein based on the movement signals of the toothbrush, the movement of a virtual game object of the video game is controlled. Further operating parameters are to be sensed by further sensors on the brush, thus for example, through a moisture sensor, a chemicals detector, a pH sensor, a temperature sensor, or a toothpaste detector, in order for example to activate additional game bonus points or functionalities when the correct toothpaste is used.
 US 2006/0040246 A1 describes an electric toothbrush that can be placed on a base station and can be charged. The base station contains a display on which an interactive game such as for example PAC-MAN.RTM. is shown. The toothbrush communicates wirelessly with the control device to control the game, which is activated by removing the toothbrush from the base station or by a start knob attached to the toothbrush. Sensors on the toothbrush sense its movements, which are used to control movements of game characters or game parts on the screen. In order to be able to carry out different games, different chips can be used. The more skillfully the game shown on the screen is played, the more winning points are credited to the user.
 From DE 10153863 A1 a toothbrush is known on whose shank end a spherical display part can be placed, on which the brushing results sensed by means of sensors can be displayed or after a successful brushing procedure, a game for children can be shown. However, an interactive control of the game shown on the display from the toothbrush is not provided; rather, a control of the program shown on the display takes place by means of input keys arranged on the display part itself, so that the entertainment value and the learning effect are limited. The actual display in the display part is inserted into the spherical form of the display part hereby and is covered by a sphere-cap-shaped, transparent covering made of scratch-proof and acid-proof plastic.
 Patent applications US 2008/0141478 and US 2008/0141476 show further brushing devices with a display on which interactively controllable games are shown, wherein several toothbrushes can communicate with one another in order to be able to play games against one another competitively, such as for example "Rock, Paper, Scissors." However, the displays are attached to the handpiece of the toothbrushes themselves hereby, so that a game that supports the correct brushing cannot be played during the brushing.
 Even though such entertainment games increase the incentive to also actually use the body care appliance such as for example a toothbrush, the danger exists that the games come to the fore and precisely with children, divert their attention so much that the actual goal of improving the efficiency of the body care and body brushing suffers. It would therefore be desirable to combine the playful incentive to use the appliance with an operability that supports the efficient use of the appliance, wherein it would be advantageous to provide a playful learning aid for the correct operability and in case of improper operation, to intervene in a correcting manner.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 In one embodiment, a body care appliance for personal use is provided. The body care appliance includes a toothbrush; a display device and a sensing device. The display device displays interactive representations that can be controlled interactively from the toothbrush by means of a control device. The sensing device senses at least one operating parameter relating to the toothbrush, wherein the sensing device has position sensing means for sensing the relative position of the toothbrush to the body part of the appliance user. The representations can be controlled by means of the control device depending on the sensed relative position
 These and other features, aspects and advantages of specific embodiments will become evident to those skilled in the art from a reading of the present disclosure.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The embodiments set forth in the drawings are illustrative in nature and not intended to limit the invention defined by the claims. The following detailed description of the illustrative embodiments can be understood when read in conjunction with the following drawings, where like structure is indicated with like reference numerals and in which:
 FIG. 1 is a schematic representation of a body care appliance in the form of a brushing device according to an embodiment shown and described herein;
 FIG. 2 is a schematic representation of a course of a interactively controllable brushing game on the screen of a display device according to an embodiment shown and described herein;
 FIG. 3 is a schematic view of a toothbrush positioned on a base station according to an embodiment shown and described herein;
 FIG. 4 is a sectional representation of a navigation switch on a toothbrush that can be actuated manually to control the avatar of an interactively controllable game according to an embodiment shown and described herein;
 FIG. 5 is a schematic view of a switch key on a display device for switching the screen content according to an embodiment shown and described herein; and
 FIG. 6 is a schematic, sectional representation of screen control keys on a handpiece of a toothbrush according to an embodiment shown and described herein.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 The following text sets forth a broad description of numerous different embodiments of the present disclosure. The description is to be construed as exemplary only and does not describe every possible embodiment since describing every possible embodiment would be impractical, if not impossible. It will be understood that any feature, characteristic, component, composition, ingredient, product, step or methodology described herein can be deleted, combined with or substituted for, in whole or part, any other feature, characteristic, component, composition, ingredient, product, step or methodology described herein. Numerous alternative embodiments could be implemented, using either current technology or technology developed after the filing date of this patent, which would still fall within the scope of the claims. All publications and patents cited herein are incorporated herein by reference.
 According to the present disclosure, during body care, the position of the care tool relative to a body part to be cared for is determined, and depending on the relative position determined, the representation displayed on the display device is changed in order to give feedback to the appliance user about whether the care tool is guided over the body part to be cared for correctly, completely, at the correct site and/or for a sufficiently long time. According to one embodiment, the initially referenced sensing device has position sensing means for sensing the relative position of the care tool relative to a body part of the appliance user to be cared for, wherein the representation shown on the display device is controlled depending on the relative position sensed. The screen representation hereby can, in one example, be a virtual, animated representation that simulates the body care procedure, wherein the animation is controlled depending on the relative position of the actual care tool sensed relative to the actual body part of the appliance user.
 A display of the respective body part to be worked on and/or its care condition is particularly helpful for the appliance user, especially when these are children with even less pronounced motor abilities. According to a further embodiment, the sensing device has object recognition means for recognizing a body part, wherein the control device controls the representation on the display device based on the object recognition data sensed and on at least one operating parameter relating to body care and/or the care tool. If the body care appliance is for example a toothbrush, the brush can sense and identify the teeth of the appliance user as body parts to be cared for, and for example to display associated parameters such as soiling condition or care that has already taken place. For example, when a tooth with a large amount of soiling is recognized, the representation on the display device, which for example can reproduce a virtual image of a set of teeth, can contain a particular recognition of the especially soiled tooth, for example in the form of a marking or an emphasis such as for example a coloration, in order to indicate to the appliance user that he must brush this tooth particularly intensively. In this way the object recognition can provide advantages even without displaying the relative position of the care tool to the body part to be brushed.
 In particular, however, the object recognition is used to represent graphically the relative position of the care tool to the respectively identified body part in the representation on the display device. If for example, a right upper incisor is brushed, the object recognition means recognize the tooth being worked on as a right upper incisor, so that in a virtual representation on the display device, a corresponding image part can be emphasized and/or marked.
 The previously referenced position sensing means can in principle contain various parameters of the relative position of the care tool relative to the body part to be cared for. According to one embodiment, the sensed relative position data can contain only the distance of the care tool from the body part to be cared for. Alternatively or in addition, however, the position sensing means can sense the relative position of the care tool to the respective body part in a more complex manner, in particular also dynamically. In one embodiment, an inclination sensor can also be provided for sensing the inclination of the care tool relative to the body part to be cared for and/or absolutely in the space, a movement sensor for sensing the movement distance and/or movement direction of the care tool relative to the respective body part and/or absolutely in the space, a speed sensor for sensing the speed of the care tool relative to the respective body part and/or absolutely in the space and/or an acceleration sensor for sensing the acceleration of the care tool relative to the body part and/or absolutely in the space. Depending on the embodiment of the sensing means, the representation displayed on the display device can simulate the body care procedure in more or less exact detail.
 The object recognition for recognizing and/or identifying a respective body part can in principle be carried out in various ways. According to one embodiment, the object recognition means can have an optical sensing unit for the optical sensing of at least one anatomical feature of the respective body part, based on which the respective body part can be identified. Such an anatomy recognition allows the exact position of the care tool relative to the body of the appliance user to be identified precisely and efficiently and allows the virtual representation to be controlled accordingly.
 In order to enable a simple, practical use, the optical sensing unit works without marking, i.e. it recognizes the respective body part without previously placing corresponding markings on it. In particular at least one anatomy feature can be sensed for this purpose and evaluated. In one embodiment, the object recognition means can determine colors and color contrasts, surface structures and structure differences, material contrasts, surface contours and/or spatial geometries of a body part. In order to identify the respective body part from this, in principle various procedures can be used, for example after determining the three-dimensional contour of a tooth, the respective tooth can be identified by a comparison with a set of reference data and/or a comparison with several sets of reference data.
 In order to enable a simple determination of the relative position of the care tool to the respective body part from the identification of this body part and/or in connection with its object recognition data, according to an advantageous development of the invention it is advantageous if the object recognition means have at least one sensing unit arranged on the care tool. In particular, a camera and/or an optical sensor can be arranged on the care tool for object recognition, so that as the care tool is guided over the body, the camera or the optical sensor is likewise guided over it. In principle it would also be possible to provide a separate sensing unit for example in the form of a separately placed camera, which senses on the one hand the care tool and on the other hand the body part to be cared for. However, this requires a certain positioning of the body to the sensing unit and thus a boundary condition parameter that must additionally be maintained by the appliance user. In order to achieve a simpler operability, the previously referenced embodiment with a camera arranged on the care tool is particularly advantageous.
 In one embodiment, the previously referenced further sensing means or sensors of the position sensing means can also be arranged on the care tool. In another embodiment, the sensing device is embodied in such a way that at least one relevant body care parameter is sensed individually for the respectively identified body part. For example, the brushing movement, the brushing time, the contact pressure force, and/or the worked-on surface can be sensed and/or determined individually for a currently worked-on body part. In one embodiment, the corresponding linking of object recognition data and sensed operating parameter can take place in a simple manner in that the sensing means for the referenced body care parameter such as, for example, a contact pressure force sensor as well as the object recognition means are arranged on the care tool, so that the object recognition takes place essentially in parallel time to the body care parameter sensing.
 In order to enable an intuitive ability to sense the correct appliance operation and also to give a playful learning aid into the hand of children, in one embodiment, the control device has a simulation device that simulates the body care procedure by means of a virtual, animated representation on the display device, whose animation is controlled by an animation control unit depending on the sensed relative position of the care tool to the body part to be cared for and/or the sensed object recognition data of a respective body part. A synchronous control of the animated representation with the sensed movements and operating parameters of the care tool is particularly helpful hereby. Through this the respective appliance user sees on the display device his care movements and/or reactions of the animation corresponding to his care movements and/or to control commands simultaneously or with only a slight time delay, so that an immediate learning effect occurs.
 In order to give an appliance user assistance about which body parts to be cared for he has already worked on and which he has not yet worked on, in one embodiment, the simulation device has display means for displaying an already worked-on body part and/or a not yet worked-on body part and/or a body part yet to be worked on. The display can in principle be embodied in various ways hereby. For example, corresponding markings can be applied to the virtual representation of the body parts to be cared for, for example, by a coloration of the corresponding representation parts. If, for example, a tooth has been brushed for a sufficiently long time, its virtual representation can be switched from a beige shade to a white shade.
 Alternatively, or in addition to this, other display means can also be used, for example an insertion of text, a change of the gestures or facial expressions of the animated character or of the avatar of the virtual representation, an acoustical signal such as beeping or speech, or an optical signal such as for example light-emitting diodes or a symbol representation such as for example a stop sign, an arrow with a slash through it, or the like. In order to give the appliance user a learning aid for the correct use of the appliance, in one embodiment, the simulation device can have display means for displaying the desired value and/or the actual value of a body care parameter such as, for example, the movement path of the care tool over the body part to be cared for. The desired and/or actual values of other operating parameters or body care parameters can also be displayed thereby, in particular can be integrated into the virtual, animated representation, thus in particular a display of the movement speed, the contact pressure force, the care time, the movement amplitude, and/or the angle of incidence of the care tool, wherein advantageously the desired value and actual value are inserted respectively.
 In one embodiment, the control device can hereby include an evaluation unit that undertakes a comparison between the desired values and the sensed actual values of the operating parameters or of the body care parameters, in order to determine errors in the operation of the appliance. In another embodiment, the simulation device can have display means for displaying an error display in the virtual representation when a faulty operation is recognized, in particular in the case of an excessive desired/actual value difference of one or more body care parameters and/or operating parameters.
 The previously referenced representation of desired and actual value can in principle be inserted permanently into the animated representation on the display device. Alternatively, the simulation device can also include control means that activate the desired and/or actual values and/or the error display only when a faulty operation is actually sensed and/or a predetermined quantity is exceeded.
 In one embodiment, graphic displays for supporting the correct appliance operation can be built into the animated representation. For example, for a body care appliance in the form of a toothbrush, it is possible to display lines for a desired movement path and an actual movement path in the animated representation, so that the appliance user can try to bring the two lines to overlap, which then corresponds to an optimal manipulation of the care tool. If on the other hand a pressure sensor is mounted, the user can also be informed about the recommended contact pressure and in comparison to this can be informed about the actual contact pressure, for example, in that the deviation is illustrated graphically and by color. For example, if the contact pressure is too high, a tooth that has just been worked on or its virtual representation can be colored red. Alternatively or in addition, a bar diagram with a red bar whose length is changeable can also display contact pressure that is too high and/or can display correct contact pressure with a green bar.
 In one embodiment, in combination with the previously referenced position determination device and/or the object recognition means it can be provided that the care time on a respective body part, in particular the brushing time on a respective tooth, can be sensed and a display for proceeding to a next tooth can be activated in the virtual representation when the desired care time is achieved. This can take place for example, by a graphic emphasis of the neighboring tooth, when the toothbrush is to be moved further. Alternatively or in addition, an error display can be generated when the toothbrush is moved further to a next tooth before the desired brushing time has elapsed.
 In one embodiment, it is proposed to use the screen of the display device not only for the representation or the course of a video game and/or the display of animated, virtual representations of a body care simulation, but also to display various other pieces of information on it and to give the respective appliance user the possibility of switching back and forth between the video- and/or simulation game and the display of the desired information. Such information can be of a varied nature, for example can have as a subject the charge state of the appliance, can relate to the brushing time already elapsed, or can display the attachment used. The respective appliance user can switch back and forth between different display modes as he likes and can thus match the screen representation to his needs. According to one embodiment, the control device includes a games- and/or simulation controller for controlling a video game on the display device as well as an information controller for providing information on the display device, wherein a switch device that can be actuated by means of a switch key, is provided for switching from the game display generated by the game- and/or simulation controller to the information display generated on the display device by the information controller and/or vice versa. The referenced games-, simulation- and information controllers hereby do not need to be separate hardware components, but can be realized in the form of various software modules in a joint micro-controller.
 The information that can be shown in addition to the video game and/or the animated simulation can hereby be of a varied nature in principle and for example, can reproduce fixed information stored beforehand relating to the work appliance used or the current value of an operating parameter. In one embodiment, evaluations can also be shown on the display device that are generated from previously sensed operating parameters of the body care appliance and/or sensed environmental parameters. In another embodiment, the control device includes an evaluation unit for evaluating sensed operating parameters and/or sensed environmental parameters, wherein the switching device can be coupled with the evaluation unit in such a way that by actuating the switch key, the respective appliance operator is able to switch from the video game to the evaluation representations.
 The switch key can in principle be arranged at various points hereby. In order to enable a simple operation also during the brushing and to enable a switching also during the brushing in a simple manner, a switch key is provided on the care tool, so that the appliance user can switch the screen representation in the desired manner while manually guiding the care tool.
 In one example, the switch key is provided on a handle section of the care tool, in particular in an area in which a fingertip of the appliance operator comes to rest. Alternatively or in addition, a switch key can also be provided on the display device itself, so that the desired screen representation can be called up directly on the display device. This is particularly advantageous in connection with the previously referenced evaluation unit, so that operating parameter evaluations can be called up on the display device after the brushing procedure has ended. This enables for example, parents to monitor the brushing behavior of their children in a simple manner, by actuating the switch key to call up evaluation data stored in a memory connected to the control device. Alternatively or in addition, a switch key can also be provided on a base station on which the care tool and/or the display device can be placed and/or docked and/or charged.
 The switching of the screen contents can take place hereby in principle in various ways. For example, an insertion over the screen representations can take place. Alternatively or in addition, a simultaneous reduced representation of both screen representations can take place in the form of a split screen. In one embodiment, the respectively desired screen contents are completely replaced by others.
 In another embodiment, the switching to and fro of the screen representations can also take place automatically. A switch control provided for this purpose actuates the switch device automatically depending on a preset operating condition of the body care appliance. In an embodiment, this can contain a time control, for example, in that after a preset period of time has elapsed, for example beginning with the start of a game, the screen representation is automatically switched to the information screen. Alternatively or in addition, the switching to the information screen can take place depending on a preset game result of the video game controlled by the game controller, for example, in that a data evaluation concerning the brushing procedure is shown only after a successful completion of the game.
 Alternatively or in addition, the switch device can also insert an information representation when an incorrect or imperfect use of the care appliance is recognized and evaluated by an evaluation unit of the control device. For example, an instructional representation can be inserted in place of a video game, if a brushing procedure is carried out with too high a brushing pressure in incorrect brushing movements.
 The manual actuation of the switch device can in principle take place in various ways. In one embodiment, the input device provided for this purpose can have an actuating key to actuate the switch device by pressing, touching, and/or approaching the key. For example, a mechanical pressure key and/or a graphic touch screen key can be used hereby.
 Alternatively or in addition to an actuating key that works in a tactile manner, the input device can also be embodied to work in a contactless manner, for example, having a movement sensor for sensing a movement of a limb of the body.
 In order to enable a better matching of the representations displayed on the display device to the respective appliance operator, for example, to be able to match the game running on it to the respective user, according to one embodiment, a selection device can be provided for the selection of several games for display on the display device, so that the game respectively matching the appliance user can be shown. For this purpose, several games and associated representation data can be stored in a memory device that is brought to and controlled on the display device by the game controller after selection by means of the selection device. For example, a simpler game can be selected for a small child than for an older child.
 Alternatively or in addition, the body care appliance can hereby contain a removable storage and/or an interface for inserting various storage media with different games, so that the selection can take place by means of different storage media. The storage and/or the storage interface can be provided in principle hereby at various points, for example, can be positioned directly on the display device. Alternatively or in addition, an interface can be provided for importing new games software and/or downloading the software.
 In one embodiment, a simple individualization of the game shown on the display device or of the animated simulation can also take place in that the respective storage medium is assigned to an attachment that can be placed on a handpiece of the care tool and/or can be docked to it. For example, an RFID chip can be present on the attachment, which chip stores the corresponding game information, and the information can be called up from the handpiece of the care tool and transmitted to the game controller, which then shows the corresponding game information on the display device. Alternatively or in addition, an identification code only can also be stored on the referenced attachment, with which corresponding game information linked together is filed at another point in a memory, so that by requesting the identification code of the respectively docked attachment at another point, the game information stored for this purpose can be called up.
 In one embodiment, the addressing of the stored data can be programmable hereby, so that it can be specified by an appliance user which data set is brought for display on the display device when a certain attachment is identified.
 In order to enable a still further individualization of the screen representations, it is possible not only to select between previously configured screen representations, but to modify, change, and/or generate screen representations. For example, it is provided that the stored representations for display on the display device are embodied so that they can be changed and/or configured individually by means of an input device provided on the body care appliance and can be stored in the memory component linked to an individual code. The individual programmability of the representations via the selection of pre-stored variants allows a diverse adaptation of the use of the display device for different needs. The changeability of the representations can hereby in principle be embodied in various ways. For example, stored representations can respectively have an unchangeable basic section and at least one supplemental section to supplement the stored representation by means of an individually configured representation. For example, name windows in the stored representations can be individually programmable, for example, to designate an animated avatar by a specific name, which then is shown together with the avatar on the display device. This makes it possible for example to generate individually designated figures in video games.
 The referenced input device for the individual changing and/or configuration of the representations can be embodied hereby in principle in various ways. For example, a touch screen can be provided for the input of the individual changes and/or configurations, wherein in particular the display device itself can have a display element in the form of such a touch screen, so that changes to the representations can be undertaken individually.
 Alternatively or in addition, an input device can be provided in the form of a programming control key, for example, in the form of a cursor control key for clicking display buttons and/or input commands, wherein such a programming control key can be provided on the display device and/or a base station. In one example, such a programming control key can also be provided on the care tool, so that the representations on the display device can be changed and/or configured individually from the care tool.
 In one embodiment, such a control key, in particular when it is provided on the care tool, can be engaged in a changeable manner depending on the representation shown on the screen, for example, in such a way that during the course of a video game, the control key forms a control key for controlling the video game on the display device, in particular a navigation key for navigating a virtual screen element and/or for navigating an avatar over the display device and/or over the background image shown thereon. If on the other hand instead of such a video game, a configuration menu is shown on the display device, the referenced control key on the care appliance can form a navigation key for controlling by means of the menu, which for example allows the clicking of various menu buttons. The control key on the care tool therefore has a double or multiple function. Instead of the video game or in addition, information and evaluations about the brushing behavior and the current or/and past brushing times can be shown. Other adult functions, which are orientated more towards a target group of adults as far as the information content is concerned, can also be displayed on this display device.
 In one embodiment, the individually changeable and/or generated representations and/or information can be stored individually, for example, together with a code identifying a respective attachment of the care tool and/or in a memory component provided on the attachment, so that when the respective attachment is attached, the individually generated data can be called up and brought to the display on the screen of the display device.
 In one example, the display device, in spite of the fact that it can be controlled by the care tool, is not arranged either fixed on a base station or fixed on the care tool, but is as it were able to positioned freely, so that it can be positioned at the respectively most favorable place. In one embodiment, the display device forms a component that is embodied separately from the base station and the care tool and can be positioned separately, which component has a communication interface for communication with the base station and/or with the care tool even when separated. By embodying the display device as a stand-alone module, the display device can be positioned at the place that is readily visible for a child or also for an adult independently of the position of the base station, so that the visibility is good even during the specified moving to and fro of the care tool--in the case of a toothbrush corresponding to the brushing movements in the mouth. Nonetheless, the screen representation, for example, in the form of a video game can be controlled interactively from the care tool via the communication interface of the display. For this purpose the care tool can have a communication link directly to the display component or can communicate with it indirectly via the base station.
 In order to achieve a simple and efficient power supply to the display device without an action radius dependent on the base station in spite of any desired positionability of the display device, in one embodiment, the display device is provided with a chargeable energy storage that can be charged by docking the display device to the base station. In one embodiment, both the display device and the care tool can be charged on the base station.
 In addition to the referenced separately embodied display device, the care tool can include a display device attached to the care tool itself, for example in order to indicate particular events supplemental to the separately embodied display device, or to transport other information. In one embodiment, the care tool can include a display that can itself be controlled by a control device depending on the course of the game on the separate display device and/or depending on an operating parameter of the care tool itself. For example, the display provided on the care tool itself can be used in order to indicate particularly interesting or important game situations on the separate display device.
 The display device on the tool can in principle be embodied in various ways, wherein in a development of the invention simpler display means are provided on the care tool itself than on the separate display device. In an embodiment, the care tool can have a housing section that can be illuminated and/or can include a lighting element that can be placed on the tool housing. In the case of a care tool in the form of a toothbrush, in a development of the invention an illuminated ring can be provided at the front end of the handpiece, which can be brought into different illumination conditions such as for example, a blinking and/or into different colors.
 If the display on the tool in one embodiment, is controlled depending on the course of the game on the separate display device, when for example the game on the separate display device expects or requires a control command as an input, a signal can be given on the display on the tool, for example in the form of a blinking. The display element of the separate display device may be embodied in a more complex manner, however. For example, an electronic display panel may be provided for example in the form of an LCD screen.
 The brushing device 1 shown in FIG. 1 includes an electric toothbrush 2 that includes a handpiece 3 forming a handle, as well as an attachment 4 fixed thereon detachably, which in the form of embodiment shown is an attachment brush with a bristle field 5, but also can optionally have other brushing elements such as plastic strips, interdental brushers, or the like.
 In the interior of the handpiece 3, a drive motor is accommodated that can drive the bristle field 5 of the attachment 4 via a suitably embodied drive train. Furthermore an energy storage in the form of a battery is provided in the interior of the handpiece 3, which battery can be charged via a charge connection 6. The referenced charge connection 6 may be situated on a rear end section of the handpiece 3, with which the handpiece can be placed or positioned on a base station 7, in order on the one hand to be put away in normal operation and on the other hand to be able to be charged.
 As FIG. 3 shows, the toothbrush 3 stands upright on the station body 8 of the base station 7, which station body is essentially embodied in the form of a flat plate, wherein according to an embodiment, the upright position is achieved without a locking engagement or the like, so that the upright-standing toothbrush 2 can rock to and fro, as illustrated in FIG. 3. In one embodiment, a shape-matched pair of bearing surfaces 10 is provided as bearing means 9, which bearing means form a respectively multi-axis pair of curved rocker surfaces whose surface pieces nestle against one another. As shown in FIG. 3, the bearing surface 10a of the station body 8 is embodied in the form of a rotationally symmetric trough, whereas the front face end of the handpiece 3 of the toothbrush 2 forms an egg-shaped or sphere-cap-shaped surface piece or in another manner a surface piece that is curved in a rotationally symmetrical convex manner, which surface piece nestles into the referenced bearing trough 10a. In one embodiment, one of the bearing surfaces 10a or 10b or both can have a flattening, in order to enable a centered position.
 In order to maintain the positioned toothbrush 2 in its upright position, magnetic holding means 11 acting between the toothbrush 2 and the base station 7 may be provided in the area of the bearing means 9, which holding means have a centering effect and hold the referenced toothbrush 2 standing vertically in its rest position. The referenced magnetic holding means 11 can hereby contain a permanent magnet in the base station 7, which magnet acts on a metallic bearing element in the end piece of the handpiece 3, for example, in the form of a bearing ring. The magnetic holding means 11 may result in a self-restoring momentum acting on the handpiece 3 when the handpiece 3 is displaced from its centered desired position. In the embodiment shown, this self-restoring device is formed by the magnetic holding means 11.
 In one embodiment, the toothbrush 2 may be charged inductively from the base part 7. The charge connection 6 of the handpiece 3 may be embodied in an inductively working manner, as is a charge connection 12 provided on the base station 7 and interacting with it. Both charge connections 6 and 12 may be covered or encapsulated from the environment. For example, they can be arranged under the housing of the handpiece 3 or of the base station 7, so that a contactless transmission of the charge current takes place. In order that the magnetic fields of the stand device cannot interfere with the electromagnetic alternating field in a mutually weakening manner, the two devices can be arranged in a "nested" manner with respect to one another. For example, in a variant, the stand magnet is embodied such that it encloses the induction coils for the electromagnetic coupling (for the transmission of the charge current). A reversed arrangement with a spool enclosing the stand magnet is also provided in a further variant. The stand magnet is arranged in the base station or/and in the lower section of the handle. This subject of the inductive energy transmission with stand magnet can be combined with other forms of embodiment in a desired manner.
 The base station 7 moreover serves as a trough for a display device 13 that may include an electronic display element 14 in the form of a screen or display, which, for example, can be embodied as an LCD screen. In one example, the display device 13 may be a stand-alone unit separately from the base station 7, which stand-alone unit can be docked to the base station 7 in order to be charged by the latter, but can also be operated separately away from the base station 7.
 In one embodiment shown, the display device 13 hereby includes a base body 15, which forms the bottom of the display device 13 and bears the referenced display element 14. In an embodiment, a transparent cover bell 16 is slipped over the referenced display element 14, which bell covers or encapsulates the display element 12 and is connected in a fluid-tight manner to the referenced base body 15, so that the display element 12 is embedded under the cover bell 13.
 To provide power to the display element 14, an energy storage in the form of a battery is integrated into the base body 15, which battery can be charged from the base station 7 via a charge connection 17. The charge connection 17 on the display device 13 as well as the charge connection 18 of the base station 7 interacting with it are advantageously also embodied in an inductively working manner here, so that the charge current can be transmitted in a contactless manner and the charge connections 17 or 18 can be embedded against moisture, in particular can be covered under the housing of the respective part.
 As FIG. 1 shows, the underside of the base body 15 of the display device 13 forms a contact area, with which the display device 13 can be positioned on any flat surface. By means of a communication interface 19 not specifically shown, the display device 13 can communicate with the toothbrush 2. For the wireless communication, a sender/receiver component may be provided hereby on the display device 13, with which component a corresponding sender/receiver component on the handpiece 3 of the toothbrush can communicate, wherein data can be transmitted in both directions. For example, a Bluetooth interface can be provided on the display device 13 as well as the toothbrush 2, in order to establish a Bluetooth connection between the two parts.
 The display device 13 furthermore may have a control device 20 that controls the representations on the display element 12 and converts control commands received from the handpiece 3 of the toothbrush 2 into corresponding graphics commands for the screen representation. For example, the referenced control device 21 can represent and interactively control a video game on the display element 14, which simulates a body care cycle, as is shown in FIG. 2 by way of example.
 In one embodiment, at least one avatar 22 and/or a virtual element is shown on the display element 14, which can be moved or guided over the screen and/or moved or guided over the screen background. In the embodiment shown, the avatar 22 is formed by the figure of a child, which can be moved over an island as well as in the underwater world in front of the island, in order to brush a reef lying underwater that symbolizes the teeth of a set of teeth to be brushed.
 The referenced avatar 22 can be navigated hereby by the toothbrush 2 over the screen representation or the display element 14. For this purpose the handpiece 3 of the toothbrush 2 includes navigation control means for generating navigation, commands that are transmitted to the control device 21 via the referenced communication interface 19 or 20 and that control the movement of the avatar 22 on the display element 14. In the embodiment shown according to FIG. 4, the referenced navigation control means hereby include on the one hand a navigation switch 23 that can be actuated manually, which can be embodied in principle in various ways and can be designed for example in the form of a mouse track ball known on laptops, which recognizes actuations or applications of force in different directions and converts them into navigation control signals of different directions.
 In order to simplify the navigation of the avatar 22 for children, the navigation switch 23 on the handpiece 3 may be a four-position pressure switch, which has pressure sections orientated in four directions, which can be positioned with respect to one another in the form of a cross. By pressing down one or two adjacent pressure sections, a navigation control signal going in the corresponding direction, optionally also superimposed, can be generated, which signal is converted into a movement of the avatar in the corresponding direction. A fixed direction assignment between the pressure sections and the screen can be specified hereby, for example, in such a way that the pressing down of the pressure section orientated towards the attachment 4 always causes a movement of the avatar 22 upwards to the upper edge of the screen etc. Alternatively, the direction assignment can also depend on the orientation of the brush shown in the virtual representation, so that the virtual representation of the brush is, for example, always moved to the right at right angles to the longitudinal axis of the virtual brush representation, irrespective of its rotational position in the screen, when the pressure section lying on the right of the real toothbrush is pressed down. However, this is a more complex control method which is less suitable for children, but can equally well increase the game incentive for adults. Alternatively the navigation switch 23 is a nonlocking key that is to be actuated as soon as certain positions/configurations can be recognized on the display. Further, in one embodiment, the navigation switch 23 is also [embodied] as an on/off switch of the electric toothbrush (e.g. with a longer pressure time in order to switch the toothbrush on and off than to operate the display functions [)]. In a further alternative, the on/off switch of the electric toothbrush and the navigation switch 23 are embodied separately, for example, on two opposite or other sides of the toothbrush handle.
 Alternatively or in addition to the referenced manually actuatable navigation switch 23, hand navigation control signals on the handpiece 3 can also be derived from operating parameters of the toothbrush and/or body care parameters 2. For example, by means of suitable sensing devices such as movement- and/or acceleration sensors, movement- or acceleration signals can be generated that correspond to the movements, in particular brushing movements of the toothbrush 2, so that the virtual representation of the avatar 22 and/or of the virtual brush part held by the avatar is navigated in accordance with the actual movements of the toothbrush 2. In one embodiment, an inclination sensor can also be integrated into the toothbrush 2, which senses the inclination or orientation of the toothbrush 2 in the space, so that the avatar 22 is not only moved to and fro but can also be rocked. In one example, the screen representation of the avatar 22 moves synchronously with the movements and/or pressure switch actuations on the toothbrush 2.
 For example, the toothbrush 2 can have a sensing device 27 that has position sensing means 28 by means of which the relative position of the toothbrush 2 relative to the teeth to be brushed can be sensed, or corresponding data can be sensed on the basis of which the relative position can then be determined.
 In one embodiment, a camera 29 can be provided on the toothbrush 2 in the area of its attachment 4 and/or of the bristle field 5, which camera senses an image of the tooth contour lying in front of the surface of the bristle field 5 formed by the free ends of the bristles. As FIGS. 1 and 6 show, the camera 29 is orientated with its view axis--roughly speaking--inclined parallel or only at an acute angle to the main axis of the bristles of the bristle field 5. Although in the form of the embodiment shown, only one camera 29 is positioned adjacent to the bristle field 5 on the toothbrush head, in a development of the invention several cameras can also be provided.
 The camera 29 forms a component of object recognition means 30, which based on the images of the camera 29 identify the respective tooth and/or part of the set of teeth and/or part of the mouth cavity, on which or in which the bristle field 5 of the toothbrush is respectively situated. Together with the data of the previously referenced sensors, such as for example, speed sensor, contact pressure sensor, inclination sensor, etc., it can be determined respectively by these means how the toothbrush 2 is moved over which tooth or section of a set of teeth.
 From the determined position-, operating-, and/or body care data, as well as from the object recognition data, an evaluation component of the control device 21 can generate navigation control signals in order to control the avatar 22 in the virtual representation according to FIG. 2 over the sections of the reef shown there that symbolize the teeth of the appliance user to be brushed.
 In the initially referenced manner, a simulation device, which as far as software technology is concerned can be embodied in the referenced control device 21, can control the animations of the virtual representation according to FIG. 2 in the previously referenced manner, for example, can also simulate in the referenced manner displays of the desired- and actual values of the body care parameters, the sensed movement path compared to a desired movement path and/or changes of the animations in the case for example of contact pressure that is too high.
 In order to increase the entertainment value, the animated simulation of the brushing procedure can be combined with other game features that can be controlled in the referenced manner by control commands that can be entered manually and/or by specific movements of the toothbrush 2. For example, the crab shown in the large representation of FIG. 2 below the avatar brushing the upper reef can be kept away from the avatar 22 by actuating the previously referenced navigation key 23. Other or additional game control commands can likewise be integrated on demand and/or can be entered as desired. Alternatively, the navigation switch 23 is a nonlocking key that is to be actuated as soon as certain positions/configurations can be recognized on the display. In a further alternative, the navigation switch 23 is also [embodied] as an on/off switch of the electric toothbrush (for example, with a longer contact pressure time in order to switch the toothbrush on and off than to operate the display functions [)]. In a further alternative, the on/off switch of the electric toothbrush and the navigation switch 23 are embodied separately, for example, on two opposite or other sides of the toothbrush handle.
 As FIG. 5 shows, the screen representation of the display device 13 can be switched by means of a switch device from the video game shown in the previous figures to an information content that is not connected to the video game, wherein in principle various pieces of information can be shown here in the initially referenced manner. In the form of embodiment shown, a static evaluation of the brushing time on different days is shown, which are generated by an evaluation component of the control device 21. In principle other operating parameters could also be evaluated and shown. In one embodiment, the evaluated operating data are stored individually, that is, are stored and assigned to a respective user in such a way that they can also be called up again individually. This can take place in such a way that the evaluated operating parameters and/or the other information are stored together with an identification code that is assigned to an attachment of the toothbrush. In the exemplary embodiment shown, the brushing times are shown for a user called "Joey."
 The switching device for switching the screen representation from the video game to the evaluations and vice versa can be actuated by means of a switch key 25, which is provided in the form of embodiment shown in FIG. 5 on the display device 13 in the form of a push button switch. If different evaluation data sets have been generated by the evaluation component of the control device 21, for example in order to prepare various evaluations of various operating parameters of a user or the evaluated operating parameters of various users, switching between the various screen representations can be accomplished through the referenced switch key 25 by pressing several times in sequence. As FIG. 6 shows, a screen control key 26 can also be provided on the handpiece 3 of the toothbrush 2, which key in principle can control various functions of the screen. In particular such a control key 26 can form a switch key, by means of which the screen contents can be further switched in the referenced manner and/or can be switched back.
 As FIG. 6 shows, the control key 25 can be arranged hereby in principle at various points and/or several such control keys 26 can be provided. In one embodiment, a control key can be arranged on a front side of the handpiece 3, for example, in the section in which a thumb comes to rest. Alternatively or in addition, a control key 26 can be positioned on the back of the handpiece 3, in particular in the area of a finger that comes to rest there. Alternatively or in addition, a control key 26 can also be provided in another section of the handle.
 The engaging of the control key 26 can in principle be embodied in various ways, for example, in a changeable manner such that various functions are assigned to the control key 26 depending on the operating state of the toothbrush 2 and/or depending on the screen content shown on the display device 13. If for example a video game is playing on the display device 13, a control key 26 can form the referenced switch key for switching the screen content. When a video game is running on the display device 13, the referenced or a further control key 26 can alternatively form an actuation key for actuating game functions, for example, actions of the avatar 22. However, if for example the display device is used as an electronic picture frame, to which images are imported from an image storage source, one of the referenced control keys 26 can be engaged in such a way that it effects a further switching from image to image. If on the other hand a control menu is shown on the screen of the display device 13, for example before the start of a game, in order to select a certain game, the referenced control key 26 can form an input key for actuating buttons.
 Alternatively or in addition, the previously referenced navigation key 23 can also have a variable engagement, which can be changed depending on the operating state of the care tool and/or depending on a screen content shown on the display device 13. If, for example, in the previously referenced manner a control menu is shown, the referenced navigation key 23 can form a navigation cursor, in order to navigate through the control menu and to select corresponding buttons by clicking--for example by double-clicking an actuation section in quick succession. However, if a video game is shown on the display device 13, the referenced navigation key 23 can be used in the described manner to control the avatar 22.
 Alternatively or in addition, the referenced control key 26 and/or the referenced navigation key 23 can be used in a programming mode to change screen contents individually and/or to generate or to configure individually, for example in that an individually programmable name is generated in a name window assigned to the avatar 22, which name is then used in the screen representations of the video game.
 The technical embodiment of the referenced navigation- and control keys 23 or 26 on the handpiece 3 of the toothbrush 2 can in principle be made in various ways. In one embodiment, respective switches of a flexible soft component are positioned that enable the actuation of a nonlocking key lying respectively behind it and thus ensures an insulation against moisture. The referenced flexible soft component can form an integral constituent of the housing of the handpiece 3, which for example can be produced in a two-component injection molding method.
 The dimensions and values disclosed herein are not to be understood as being strictly limited to the exact numerical values recited. Instead, unless otherwise specified, each such dimension is intended to mean both the recited value and a functionally equivalent range surrounding that value. For example, a dimension disclosed as "40 mm" is intended to mean "about 40 mm."
 Every document cited herein, including any cross referenced or related patent or application is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety unless expressly excluded or otherwise limited. The citation of any document is not an admission that it is prior art with respect to any invention disclosed or claimed herein or that it alone, or in any combination with any other reference or references, teaches, suggests or discloses any such invention. Further, to the extent that any meaning or definition of a term in this document conflicts with any meaning or definition of the same term in a document incorporated by reference, the meaning or definition assigned to that term in this document shall govern.
 While particular embodiments of the present invention have been illustrated and described, it would be obvious to those skilled in the art that various other changes and modifications can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. It is therefore intended to cover in the appended claims all such changes and modifications that are within the scope of this invention.