Tuesday, 05 Jul, 2011 Technology
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Latest Invention: Showa Hanako 2 - Realistic Robotic Patient for Dental Students

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Showa University in Tokyo has recently presented its new robotic dental patient. The institution hired the robotic company Tmsuk to create a robot that would simulate several typical patient gestures and reactions. Thus, dental students will be able to gain more knowledge and experience before starting working with a real patient.

Dubbed Showa Hanako 2, the machine is an improvement of the first model launched last year. It is more user- friendly and boasts better functionality compared to Showa Hanako 1.

The robot's silicon skin was developed by Orient Industry, the company responsible for creating the "Love doll". The same company worked on the machine's mouth lining, which offers a more realistic feel and prevents liquids from getting into the device.

The University's Prof. Koutaro Maki outlined: "How doctors and students actually feel in the presence of a patient is a really big factor." This is the reason why it was very important to build a robot that would be as closer to a real patient as possible.

Showa Hanako 2 was developed to move realistically like a real patient. The robot can blink, roll its eyes, sneeze, shake its head, cough and move its tongue. When its mouth is opened for a long time the robot can simulate tiredness.

In addition, Showa Hanako 2 can simulate a gag reflex, which takes place very often during dental procedures. The robotics engineers also incorporated a speech recognition technology to improve conversation capability in dental students. The technology was developed by Raytron.

Yoshida Dental Manufacturing, a dental supply company, is expected to launch onto the market the Showa Hanako 2 later this year. Currently no information regarding the price has been provided.


[via DigiInfo]

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