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Dental hygiene training goes virtual
Updated: 4/22/2008 12:00:57 PM

Dental hygiene students at the University of Illinois have been given some high-tech help with their studies.

The university's colleges of dentistry and engineering have developed a computer program with a 3-D training system called PerioSim, the Chicago Flame reports.

Using the new device, students can actually sense what it is like to rub underneath gums, feel for calculi on the tooth root or look for periodontal abnormalities.

The program uses haptics, or the science of applying touch sensation and control to computer applications.

On screen, the user navigates a dentistry tool through various procedures and in different scenarios.

Dr Arnold Steinberg, project leader and professor of periodontics at the university, told the publication: "We can enhance the learning and training of a wide variety of tasks or procedures using this system. The need to practice on mannequins, animals and patients can be significantly reduced."

The PerioSim also possesses a playback function, so students can look back at what they have done previously and see where they went wrong, or have their work checked by instructors.

Yesterday the Modesto Bee reported that a university in Japan has developed a robot that can sense pain, to enable dentistry students to gauge how much distress their work is causing their patients.
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