Being afraid of the dentist is a common fear, and even if the site of a dental drill doesn’t send shivers down your spine, it’s safe to say it’s never really an enjoyable experience. The way patients react to dental procedures has a real impact on treatment, so dentists in training need to be prepared for wincing, flinching, and the patients who clamp their jaws shut.
Since all things are better when done with robots (right?), researchers in Japan have developed a dental training robot that can sneeze, shake its head, cough, gag, and even close its mouth when feeling a jaw ache. The robot was created by researchers at Japan’s Showa University, with help from the country’s top sex doll manufacturer Orient Industry. Why sex dolls? To get that lifelike skin, tongue and mouth, of course.
The robot, called Showa Hanako 2, also features voice recognition so trainees can practice the rudimentary banter that typically goes on between dentist and patient during an appointment. Once a check-up is over, the robot will store and analyze each student’s performance and give feedback that the students can access online.
The Showa Hanako robot was first developed 10 years ago, but this revised second version has more realistic movements, and is much more human-like in appearance. To make these improvements in appearance, the Showa University developers reached out to sex doll experts Orient Industry to make the robot’s skin, tongue and mouth more lifelike.
The sex doll-inspired dental robot is expected to be available for commercial sale in Japan later this year. With the recent invention of the vest that allows you to hug yourself, it may be safe to say that the Japanese are not inclined to suffer loneliness, so here’s to hoping the dental doll actually gets used only by dentists.
(via New Scientist)