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VR educational app for dental students

Why an educational VR application in the field of dentistry?

The field of dentistry gives students many challenges, including practical ones. To improve the education process of future specialists, together with Medical University of Warsaw, we have prepared an application for VR goggles. It is a system of interactive experiences illustrating dental procedures. Dental treatment in virtual reality can contribute to faster training of real professionals using HTC Vive equipment.

Medical University of Warsaw

Medical University of Warsaw is an academic community that respects freedom of thought and expression, equality of rights, and tradition. The university’s mission is the best education based on innovative medicine and conducting scientific research at the highest level.

The application was created as part of the project “Time2MUW – teaching excellence as an opportunity for the development of the Medical University of Warsaw” financed by the National Center for Research and Development. The managers of the task “Preparation and implementation of didactic classes in the field of medicine and dentistry with the use of VR devices and applications” are Piotr Regulski, MD, Ph.D., Małgorzata Ponto-Wolska, MD, Ph.D. and MD, Ph.D. Anna Turska-Szybka.

Challenge

Creating an efficient and practical introduction to the dental procedures

  • ​​​​Medical University of Warsaw planned to expand its didactic offer for dentistry students. That’s why the university decided to invest in a VR infrastructure for medical training consisting of five practical modules.
  • The tasks presented to users include procedures such as cavity preparation, fissure sealing, endodontic treatment, incision of an abscess, and identification of anatomical structures.
  • Our team designed a tutorial mode for all lessons. It presents the process of each exercise and allows students to practice before the start of the exam session. Moreover, Medical University of Warsaw wanted to give lecturers the possibility of control and support in the didactic process. Mainly due to the specificity of dentistry, which is based on precision and learned movements.

An essential element of the VR project was implementing an educational and information platform as a desktop application. It allows lecturers to track the results of tasks performed by a specific user and save them in a database.

Each VR application requires 3D modelling. The picture illustrates wireframe (mesh) of the dental chair and a fully textured model.

Solution

Training dentistry procedures in virtual reality means more practical learning methods for students

  • We have developed VR training software to simulate basic clinical dental procedures. For this purpose, we used advanced virtual reality technologies.
  • The presented VR project can be considered one of the most advanced in our company’s portfolio. It required a specialized approach to programming interactions, collisions, physics, etc. Together, they create a whole experience that responds to medical requirements and physical prototypes.
  • 3D graphic designers and programmers created dental tools that naturally interact with biological structures, including the surface of the teeth. One of the essential advantages of the VR application is the detailed model of the oral cavity. Its anatomical structure has been prepared to perform precise treatments without the fear of injuring a live patient.
  • The virtual reality application would not be so practical and easy to use if it was created for PCs that would not provide students comfort and freedom. The university needed as many as 50 devices, so a PCVR setup was not viable – school could not upgrade every PC setup to VR graphics standard. As such, Medical University of Warsaw needed a wireless VR headset that was still powerful enough to run the training application. The VIVE Focus 3 met that need perfectly.

The goal of Giant Lazer was to reflect the behavior of anatomical structures, including tooth enamel and the soft tissue of the oral cavity, tongue, and cheeks.

The training is performed using carefully designed 3D models

The model of the dental table presented here reacts to mouse course interactions and keys numbered from 1 to 5, showing different layers and the final effect.

You can immerse yourself in the world created with VR technology and see what models dentistry students use in the application.

3D graphic designers and programmers have also prepared models that imitate the human body

Our team made the patient’s head phantom in 3D technology, so we encourage you to explore it (it contains tooth loss) and see how 3D models are created in stages during the design process.

The model of the head presented here reacts to the mouse cursor and the numbered keys from 1 to 5, showing different layers and the final effect.

Process

Defining project assumptions

Designing user journey

Preparing a prototype with interactions

Work on graphics, UI design, and mechanics

Implementation on target devices

Thanks to the VR application, an individual user’s progress is recorded. Points are scored automatically after completing the task. The application allows you to generate reports on users’ progress in CSV format from the database.

Technology

HTC Vive Focus 3
PC

Effects

  • Success # 1 | Full VR capabilities for dental students

The university has gained a complete training system for students with technology, software, user manual, and specialized tutorial for teachers who will use the solution in their classes.

  • Success #2 | Realistic dentistry in an accessible form of a VR application

Giant Lazer provided a virtual reality application that uses realistic 3D models of the patient’s teeth and mouth. The application also includes complex dental tools and treatment equipment, e.g. a dental chair with accessories. Objects naturally interact with each other, giving a natural feeling of performing virtual activities.

  • Success #3 | The student and his results under the supervision of the lecturer

The application includes a module that allows teachers to record all steps taken by the student in the VR exam mode. The solution provides possibility to analyze the course of training and individually search for difficulties in each user’s work.

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