Haptic nanotechnology used to train dentists, regenerate dental pulp, determine food compositions and treat cranio-maxillofacial conditions

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Back in 2008, Ralph Hollis, Professor at the Robotics Institute, Carnegie Mellon University developed the magnetic levitation interface with the idea that “one day”, it may be used as a simulator in medical training and robotic-assisted procedures. The interface is designed for immediate response to user movements allowing users to experience slight changes in positioning, sense textures and perceive real impacts.

While Professor Hollis was improving prototypes, the colleges of Dentistry and Engineering of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) were busy developing the 3D haptic dental training system to teach dentists through experience of touch, how to do dental procedures conscious of their tactile skills. The system allows dentists in training to “feel what their instructor is feeling”. These haptic-type systems using nanotechnology have further advanced in the past two years. Recent findings published by the American Chemistry Society suggest that special nano-sized film containing alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) prevents inflammation in dental pulp fibroblasts and also regenerates these fibroblast cells. The results mean that dentists can use this nanotechnology to treat diseased teeth and gums, reducing the need for root canal treatment.

Research also recently published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry describes development of magnetic levitation technology from use in hovering high-speed trains to analysing and measuring density of food, water and beverage contents through use of a sensor that defines magnetic pressure. The benefit of this “maglev” device is that it can not only be used to determine “healthy dental-friendly” foods and beverages, but also to assess processed foods that have recently been identified as contributing to Multiple Sclerosis (MS) resulting in oral and maxillofacial complications. Holographic haptic technology is also being used in cranio-maxillofacial surgery, such as PEEK OPTIMA’s Patient Specific Implant (PSI) technology.



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