Sex doll-based robot helps dentists learn realistic, sensitive healing

Showa Hanako 2 robot flinches, gags, blinks aand talks

Japanese researchers have created a dentistry-training robot that can flinch, gag, blink and try to carry on a conversation with cotton stuffed in its mouth - effectively mimicking a real human visit to the dentist.   

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The Showa Hanako 2 is designed  to be as realistic as possible for training practitioners say researchers at Showa University in Japan.   

What's interesting about the all-to-realistic robot is that one of Japan's top sex doll makers, Orient Industry, was brought in to help design and craft realistic skin, tongue and mouth areas.

Form the site: "We've been in contact with Orient Industry for over a decade, since before we produced Hanako 1. Even then, we thought we'd need professionals to help with the molding. If you don't try to make a robot's face look realistic, it doesn't have the same effect on users psychologically. How doctors and students actually feel in the presence of a patient is a really big factor. It makes quite a difference if students can train while experiencing the same kind of tension they'd feel about a human patient - thinking, for example, "I'm really going to make this treatment work," or "Even the smallest mistake would be unforgivable." We think it's OK for people to be tense while training, and to make mistakes, because, well, this is a robot.  We considered the motions of the tongue and mouth lining separately. To prevent water getting into the machinery and causing problems, we wanted to form those parts in one piece if possible. But the molding technology for doing that wasn't available to us. Orient Industry had that technology, and it helped us a lot."

Showa Hanako 2 has several major upgrades over her predecessor, Showa Hanko 1, for example, her skin is now made of silicone rather than PVC and she moves much more realistically.  

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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