Lifelike 'child' robot helps train pediatric dentists in Japan

STORY: How should a dentist react if a child does this.....this...or this?

This humanoid robot is helping to train pediatric dentists in Japan by simulating a child's response to dental treatment...

from tantrums to critical medical symptoms.

Yusuke Ishii is the engineering division director of Tmsuk.

"The medical workers really need to experience medical emergencies. It is important that they experience a situation where something goes wrong, and that's what it can simulate."

The robot, named Pedia_Roid, is linked to a tablet which is programmed with different medical conditions.

The user can send signals to air cylinders within the robot's joints to move its entire body, mouth and tongue.

This allows it to display physical reactions and facial expressions.

More importantly, the robot can simulate signs of a medical emergency, such as convulsion and heart failure.

It was co-developed by Japanese robotics startup Tmsuk and a local dental school.

They wanted to address the lack of clinical dental training to treat children.

"It is difficult to get experience in pediatric dentistry because there are no opportunities to practice. In addition, there is the risk that children will move wildly because with children, when their medical condition suddenly worsens, it's hard for them to express that situation. So it is necessary to have the experience and knowledge to monitor and treat the patients. But they (the medical workers) don't have this training opportunity, so they administer the treatment in real situations (without enough training). So we developed this so that they can practice on a simulation."

The robot costs approximately $195,000.

Tmsuk hopes to develop it further so it can help people in other childcare industries, such as elementary school teachers and pediatricians.