Virtual Reality Training Sweeps Awards

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The revolutionary new technology known as haptic, has helped the hapTEL virtual dental training chair and King’s College London Dental take an impressive three awards at the Medical Futures Innovation Awards.

The technology is designed to replace the outdated and expensive old way of training dentists, which involved the use of a phantom head with a full set of teeth that could be used to practice dentistry.

HapTEL costs around £10,000, a steal when compared to the phantom head which costs around £30,000 to £40,000.

King’s College can count the awards as a serious success, taking, not only the best educational innovation for hapTEL, but also picking up two awards for developments towards improving areas in both dental training and treatment that had previously been neglected.

The new hapTEL system uses virtual reality to train future dentists, as well as haptics which enables the device to imitate the real pressure and “feel” of teeth under the dentist’s drill and even allows the student to tell the difference between rotten and healthy enamel.

The system was developed by a vast team of capable and respected researchers from dental, scientific and engineering backgrounds including Professor Margaret Cox, Dr. Jonathan P San Diego and Dr Barry Quinn of King’s College and a team of over 24 staff including clinicians, psychologists, sociologists and cyberneticists.

The technology is already in use in the computer gaming industry in an attempt to bring virtual reality gaming into the mainstream of an industry worth millions of dollars a year.

The research team and the dental college itself are exceptionally proud of and pleased with the new innovation that has already been used to train 320 undergraduates and has been of use to 30 postgraduates.

The Dean and Head of King’s Dental Institute was immensely proud while commenting that “the Dental Institute is delighted to be in receipt of three 2011 Medical Future Innovation Awards. It’s pleasing to see our world-leading research teams be recognised in this way, particularly for the Best Educational Innovation Special Award. The Institute looks forward to further developing its links with industry through its cutting-edge research and innovation.”


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