How virtual reality is being used for training dental students

A virtual reality headset by Ekaterina43 (via Shutterstock).

Virtual Reality has come a long way since it was regarded as a novelty. In the early 1990s, it was seen as an expensive toy with blocky polygon graphics. For a time, you only saw VR systems in amusement arcades on the seafront. Twenty years on, virtual reality has become part of our home entertainment systems, and a useful tool for training purposes.

Over at the University of Huddersfield, a team of researchers have found another use: dentistry. In future, dental students could learn to perfect their general and cosmetic dentistry operations with VR headsets. Thanks to the wonders of smartphones and improved graphics, this will be possible with an Oculus Rift head-mounted display and Leap Motion tracking.

Crossover

With the University of Huddersfield being renowned for its computer games development courses, the two worlds of virtual reality and dentistry collide. This is also due to the work of postgraduate student, Yesh Pulijala. Mr Pulijala is a qualified dental surgeon who became aware of the limitations of dentistry training.

He is joined by Professor Minhua Ma. She is a leading authority on health based edutainment software. In layperson’s terms, how serious computer games can be used in health education. Both people have co-authored a chapter on virtual reality-based surgery. This appears in a book entitled Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, Volume II. Their PhD research will be completed over this year.

Smile Specialist Centre, 05 OctoberA 2017.