Dental surgical training simulator with head mounted display and haptic feedback

Chawana Udomraksa, Patta Yovithaya, Angkura Aungkuramas
advisors: Peter Haddawy, Gabriel Zachmann

To train a dental student to perform a dental surgery operation involves the use of multiple dental surgery instruments which result in the need for higher budget for a long-term training. As a means to address this problem, computer-based dental simulators were introduced to curriculum and have long been in use both experimental and in practice. However, most of them display in an unnatural and unrealistic 2D graphics and lacks in the sensation of the interaction between the virtual patient and the trainees. In this project, we are creating a combination between Head Mounted Display (HMD) technology and haptic feedback technology in order to make use of the advantages of dental training simulator yet remains the 3D perspectives and force feedback of the traditional training process.
The focus of this project is an HMD dental surgical training simulator with haptic feedback. When the trainees wear HMD device, they will find themselves immersed in the dental surgery environment provided with all the necessary dental surgical tools. We use HTC Vive for the HMD technology to display 3-dimensional perspectives. This will certainly help this simulator to become more realistic than 2-dimensional display since human’s perspectives is based on 3-dimensional world. This simulator simulates the access opening stage of the root canal treatment. The trainees will need to use the virtual dental mirror and a virtual drilling handpiece to create an access opening. When the head of the drilling handpiece touches the surface of a tooth, the haptic device will simulate the force feedback to the trainees, thus the trainees will actually feel that they are interacting with the virtual tooth. This will help the trainees to know the amount of force and orientation needed to apply to the virtual tooth. We use Unreal game engine to generate realistic visualization and 3DS Max modeling software to create virtual objects in additional to objects that are available online.
As a result of the combination of the advantages of HMD technology and haptic feedback, the training processes of this simulator requires no additional physical tools and replacement, allows some certain tasks to be taught such as the amount of force and the orientation of the tool. Furthermore, all the training processes are performed on the simulator, thus all the processes could be tracked and can make use of these invaluable information for further analysis.
In conclusion, by integrating between Virtual Reality, HMD and haptic technologies, this simulator has a potential to become one of the important alternatives in additional to the traditional training process. We hope that this project could lay a foundation and take part in the evolution of dental surgery training like how the flight simulator technology has influenced the aviation industry in the past.