Few people would want to be guinea pigs for aspiring dentists but Japan has found an always-willing patient — a robot.
Doctors and robotics researchers on Thursday unveiled a humanoid that happily goes under the drill for orthodontics students and can also express pain, roll her eyes and even drool like a real patient.
“Hello,” female-looking “Hanako” said cheerfully as an aspiring dentist closed in during a presentation in Tokyo. “Please take care of me.”
But the robo-patient’s mood can quickly take a real-life turn for the worse if the grinding and drilling get too much or the wrong spot is hit.
“It hurts,” said Hanako, dangerously moving her plastic head while a dental student was grinding her resin teeth, which are designed to be taken out and examined later to assess the student’s skill.
In the demonstration, under the watchful gaze of an instructor, the dental student reacted quickly, deactivating and moving the sharp-pointed grinding tool to avoid damaging Hanoko’s teeth or gums.
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