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 Virtual Dentistry Allows Students to Fully Experience Mouth

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Date posted: 28/07/2004

The UIC College of Dentistry is planning to test a new virtual reality dentistry simulation that allows students full tactile, and taste sense of both sides of the procedure, without actually operating on patients. The following excerpt has been listed birectly from the press release:

Faculty of the UIC College of Dentistry will test a new virtual reality system, complete with touch and feel, for training dental students in oral care. Reporters are also welcome to test the dental simulator.

The system allows the user to examine a realistic, 3-D image of the mouth with all the tactile sensations of the real thing. In the module currently being tested for the dental simulator, users can manipulate periodontal probes and other instruments to feel the root surface under the gums before and after calculus deposits have been removed and to assess pocket depth, bleeding sites and areas where the gum has detached.


July 29

1-3 p.m.


UIC College of Dentistry

801 S. Paulina St.

Periodontics Conference Room (Fourth Floor, Room 453)

The dental simulator, a joint project of UIC's colleges of Dentistry and Engineering, is intended as a learning tool for students, allowing them to fully experience what the instructor is demonstrating. It combines animation of the human mouth, projected on a screen or computer monitor, with a "haptic" device linked to a stylus to provide the sensations of touch that are so important in the practice of dentistry. A third mode allows users to immerse both hands directly into a projected image, suspended in space, to feel the teeth, gums, etc., as if the mouth were real.

"The haptic device allows one to touch what is displayed on a screen so that the student can feel exactly what the instructor is feeling -- whether soft tissue alterations or a hard calculus deposit beneath the gum line," said Arnold Steinberg, professor of periodontics and one of the developers. "The system should reduce, and in some cases even eliminate, the need to practice procedures on mannequins, animals and patients. In the future, it could even be deployed for training purposes over the Internet."

Other faculty members involved in the project are James Drummond, professor of dentistry and engineering, Prashant Banerjee, professor of mechanical and industrial engineering, Cristian Luciano, visiting scholar in mechanical and industrial engineering, and Milos Zefran, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The module for periodontal procedures is the only one ready for demonstration, but additional modules are under development.

See the full Story via external site: www.ascribe.org

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