Showa University has unveiled Showa Hanako 2, a human-like dental-training android. This robot from Tmsuk, a popular robot maker, is peaking the interest of many.
Compared with the previous version, Showa Hanako 1, Showa Hanako 2 is specifically fabricated to be easier to use, more functional, and more realistic. In turn, dentists in training can have a realistic, hands-on experiment without putting a live patient at risk.
The robot has natural movements such as choking and shaking its head. Its arms and tongue come with 2 degrees of freedom, allowing the robot to perform some of the latter motions.
Interview with Koutara Maki
An interview was conducted with Koutaro Maki, a professor at Showa University School of Dentistry, regarding the android. He stated that they have been in contact with the Orient Industry for over a decade before Showa Hanako 1.
Maki added that if you do not attempt to make the robot’s face appear realistic, then psychologically it doesn’t have the same impact on users. How physicians and students genuinely feel in the presence of a patient is a big factor to consider.
He also added that it makes a huge difference when students can train well while experiencing the same form of the pressure they’d feel about a real human patient. With a realistic robot, dentists in training generally apply the same amount of effort to ensure the treatment is done correctly.
Advancements and Features of Showa Hanako 2
Advancements since Showa Hanaka 1
Showa Hanako 2 has a lot of major advancements. The skin is now silicone instead of PVC. The cheek lining and tongue are now a single piece. The head now comes with a motor. In the past, head movements were pneumatical. Additionally, the mouth lining and the tongue’s motions were separate before.
This robot can roll its eyes, blink, cough, sneeze, maneuver its tongue, and shake its head. Like a real human, Showa Hanako 2 can tire from keeping its mouth open for too long. Aside from these, Showa Hanako 2 is capable of holding a conversation by utilizing recognition technology from Rayton.
In fact, the makers of Showa Hanako also ensured version two had a gag reflex. As many know, dental students read about the gag reflex in textbooks. However, it is difficult to instruct them with what actually happens. This is the reason why they have made this capability part of the robot.
Also, this new robot’s speech recognition is quite exceptional. The Showa Hanako 2 can accumulate vocabulary and recognize a plethora of words. Due to this, it will surely be useful in gathering information from patient databases and medical histories.
In time, hopefully more technology like Showa Hanako 2 will make way into the dental world. Hands-on learning while minimizing the risks and margin of error is critical for dental students.