A device being developed by researchers from The University of Western Australia will improve dental procedures, significantly reduce the time they take and potentially lower dental treatment costs through new virtual (augmented) reality technology.
The UWA team developing the device has been selected as one of 10 innovations in Australia to be included in CSIRO’s ON Accelerate program.
ON Accelerate is designed to boost Australia’s innovation performance in research, science and business. The program will provide the UWA researchers Marcus Pham (UWA Engineering), Professor Paul Ichim (UWA Dentistry), Professor Thomas Braunl (UWA Engineering), and Rob Shannon (UWA Innovation Quarter) with resources to develop the device and bring it to a stage ready for commercialisation.
UWA electrical engineering and computer science student Marcus Pham, lead developer of the dental software technology, said it worked by dentists wearing a set of augmented reality glasses, enabling them use hand gestures to access information which is then displayed in their peripheral vision.
“A big problem at the moment is the amount of interruptions dentists face when performing procedures, with an estimated 20 percent of their day spent carrying out non-clinical tasks and a significant amount of time spent away from patients during a procedure to review critical information,” Mr Pham said.
“The technology we are developing will change this by providing dentists with all the information they need without them needing to interrupt a procedure, so they can focus entirely on the patient.
“This means the time taken to carry out procedures will be drastically reduced and the quality of the dental work will also improve.”
Mr Pham said aside from patient benefits, the technology would also decrease costs in dentistry and help in the training of dental school students. The device can provide students with accurate and fast feedback as they learn intricate manual tasks such as tooth preparation, instead of students seeking feedback from a teacher’s interpretation of their work.
The project was selected as an ON Accelerate winner following a challenging and competitive two-day selection bootcamp held at the University of Technology Sydney.
ON Accelerate3 will commence on the 16 January 2017 and run for 12 weeks, allowing the dental researchers to develop their concept. Mr Pham said he was hopeful that after developing the technology and trialling it, it would be available for commericalisation as early as next year. Students in UWA’s Dental School will be the first to test the device.
Jess Reid (UWA Media and PR Adviser) (+61 8) 6488 6876