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Anthropomorphic simulator for teaching dental students

Training of professional medical personnel is a very important task. Not only the state of people's health, but also their life expectancy depends on the quality of doctors' training. In order to keep up with the times, new technologies are increasingly being introduced into the educational process of students, for example, simulators, computer programs and other innovations.

But most often such developments require the availability of auxiliary equipment, as well as the constant participation of a teacher. In addition, not all devices can reproduce real conditions, which is very important when training doctors, including dentists. This factor can lead to mistakes with a real patient, which can spoil his health or facial aesthetics. Scientists of Perm Polytechnic University, together with colleagues from Perm State Medical University named after Academician E.A. Wagner and MGMSU named after A. I. Evdokimova, within the framework of the interuniversity consortium, developed a robot simulator that will bring the training of dental students closer to the real conditions of a medical clinic, and will also allow assessing the quality of work using a neural network. The development was carried out within the framework of the strategic academic leadership program "Priority 2030".

The research was presented at the conference of young researchers of Russia on electrical engineering and electronics "2023 ElConRus", held in St. Petersburg.

According to scientists, the creation of a simulator based on an anthropomorphic robot, that is, similar to a human, for practical classes of dental students will automatically evaluate the skills of students without the participation of a teacher. In addition, using such an android as a basis will provide feedback from the "patient" in the form of movements and speech. Existing simulators used in dentistry – "phantoms", representing ordinary jaws, give only an approximate idea of the process of tooth treatment in a living person, since the student receives feedback not from real factors, such as a change in the structure of the tooth in the hole, but from special tests conducted by the teacher. As a result, the student gets only a theoretical idea of how the workflow should go, and acquires real skills already while working with real people.

- We have developed a dental anthropomorphic robot simulator that will allow an objective assessment of the student's skills using several models of teeth, including "smart teeth" with a set of sensors. In addition to practical classes, the simulator allows you to study theoretical aspects of disciplines, is able to conduct surveys on the topics of practical classes and lectures, as well as evaluate test tasks thanks to the interactive component. The basis of the device is an optical recognition system that checks the correctness of students' work, - says Associate Professor of the Department of Automation and Telemechanics of PNRPU, Candidate of Technical Sciences, Andrey Kokoulin.

To teach students, scientists have created a robot simulator that simulates a patient who is able to conduct a dialogue and perform movements. The robot is equipped with a replaceable jaw with replaceable teeth of several types, which is made of rubber and plastic materials that correspond to the hardness of real tooth enamel, which gives the student basic information about the structure of human teeth. The robot is prepared for four types of dental work: caries treatment, crown preparation, canal treatment and tooth extraction. Depending on the type of practical training, you can use standard monolithic teeth, or special ones with cavities with colored filler or sensors. This system allows students to see the structure of a real tooth when dissecting. And a specially trained neural network evaluates the depth, width, evenness, uniformity of the removed material and other signs during drilling. According to scientists, this solution will get rid of the constant monitoring of the teacher and the use of additional equipment, such as X-rays, and will also increase the objectivity of the student's work assessment.

- Smart teeth consist of a conductive substrate, a conductive gel, a contact pad and are divided into two parts. All elements form an electrical circuit that reacts to contact with the tool and sends a signal to the board. The lower part of smart teeth imitates their internal structure. The upper section is a part of the crown of a tooth of a given shape. Together they provide a complete imitation of working with a real tooth. Since innovation has feedback, there is no need for additional equipment that teaches the student to navigate using only their knowledge. Also, the constant presence of a teacher is not required, which allows a large number of dental students to study at the same time. In addition, we have implemented and trained a neural network capable of recognizing the success of the work performed. At the first stage, the system determines and reflects the image of the tooth, and at the second step it analyzes using a model trained on hundreds of correct and erroneous cases," says Alexander Yuzhakov, Head of the Department of Automation and Telemechanics of PNRPU, Doctor of Technical Sciences.

Also, according to scientists, the simulator is able to conduct surveys on the topics of practical classes and lectures and evaluate test tasks. Thus, a robot simulator created by scientists of Perm Polytechnic University will be able to bring students' education close to real ones.

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