World’s First Haptic & VR Dental Simulator Provides Remote Training Opportunities

The healthcare simulation company, Universal Simulation UK (Uni Sim), has launched the world’s first portable haptic and VR simulator for dentists. This innovation is designed to help learners who are quarantining, or unable to physically be at the university, to continue practicing patient treatments virtually, at any time from the comfort of their own homes. Being able to offer remote simulation experiences has become especially important as access to clinical simulation suites during the COVID-19 pandemic has become limited.

For example, healthcare learners have been so impacted by pandemic restrictions that, according to the Daily Mail, all dental students in Scotland will have to repeat a year given the lack of physical practice of treatments to improve their dexterity, familiarity and skills. Mairi Gougeon, Scotland’s Minister for Public Health, has emphasized that many learners simply have not gained the necessary clinical experience this year, which has resulted in the difficult decision to defer graduation.

However, not all healthcare simulation practice has to happen in the clinic. Rather, some of this clinical simulation can be reliably replicated in the simulation suite, as healthcare simulations become more and more advanced through the use of haptics, the ability to virtually touch objects, and virtual reality. These types of healthcare simulation have actually been around for a number of years now, which have allowed learners to practice patient treatments virtually, but still get the tactile feedback of drilling through enamel and dentin. Virtual reality in simulation has revolutionized dental training in many universities, and in many countries.

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“By taking the simulation out of the simulation suite and into the homes of students, they’re able to continue their education, continue getting practice and continue improving their skills, without the risk of contamination or spreading coronavirus,” explained Jennifer Summers, a simulation specialist. “This is especially important for students who are in the high-risk category themselves, and could find themselves at a disadvantage as access to universities opens up for other students but remains a challenge for them.”

Uni Sim’s haptic solutions device comes in a custom Pelican case that fits as hold luggage on the airplane and is securely transportable. The starter kit includes a high-end laptop, a Touch haptic device from 3D Systems, both a custom finger rest and dental handpiece, a foot pedal and the latest Quest 2 VR headset.

The machines have already deployed in Spain, with their learners benefiting from dental simulations. Additionally, pre-orders have been made available in Columbia, with a number of other countries having inquired about the equipment to help universities navigate the COVID-19 restrictions.

ADEMA University has previously invested in a lot of technology to create their Digital Dentistry training courses. Diego González, CEO of ADEMA University, says that this technology has taken ADEMA to the forefront of innovation in dental education and learners have been wowed by what is now possible by healthcare simulation.

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“It has been devastating to see the impact that coronavirus has had on student’s education, especially in countries such as the UK where they pay a substantial amount in tuition fees. So much so that some students are now having to repeat the year, due to a lack of practice giving treatments,” said Co-founder and CEO of Uni Sim, James Markey.

Uni Sim is proud to be helping universities with these new clinical simulators that provide an opportunity to continue learner education remotely during periods of uncertainty given lockdowns, quarantines and limited learner access. Following external use, Uni Sim solutions can be brought back into the university and integrated into each simulation suite.

Currently, Uni Sim is focusing the company’s healthcare simulation efforts on dental operations, such as restoration, endodontics, prosthodontics and oral surgery. The company is also developing clinical simulations to teach anesthesia in a project with New York University and ADEMA University.

More About Universal Simulation UK

Universal Simulation UK (Uni Sim) provides simulators and simulations for educators and researchers worldwide. An innovative start-up which was founded in 2020, the company is headquartered in London, United Kingdom. The company aims to bring haptic and VR simulations to universities around the world in an affordable and accessible way to improve education for all dental and medical students. Starting with clinical simulations in dental restoration, prosthodontics, endodontics and oral surgery, the business is also working on anaesthesia simulations in collaboration with some of the leading dental universities, including ADEMA University, in Spain.

In 2020, Uni Sim successfully launched and deployed the Model T, the world’s most affordable desktop haptic and VR simulator for dentists. In 2021, the business launched the world’s first portable haptic and VR dental simulator to allow learners to practice their treatments virtually from anywhere.

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Today’s article was guest authored by Leroy Morrad, Simulation Specialist at Uni Sim.

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