Developing Dental Simulator
or touch-sensitive, computer simulators that will help train
dental students to elicit and recognize the sensations in
a dentist's fingertips are being developed at the University
of Iowa's Center for Computer-Aided Design. University of
Iowa professor and researcher Geb Thomas has received a
$330,225 award from the National Science Foundation for
simulator uses a computer to control a pen-shaped handle.
It operates like a three-dimensional computer mouse by moving
a cursor through a 3-D virtual reality field. It will be
developed around the primary criterion of force signal fidelity,
with other competing design criteria including simulated
tooth surfaces, hardness and visual appearance, along with
the precise shape and feel of a dental tool handle.
project will ultimately compare the performance of dentists
trained with the simulator against those trained using traditional
methods and will make an important contribution to the growing
field of haptic simulation in medical training.