No fear of dental treatment

Article of 18 December 2020 

Dental Treatment

Small children are often harmed through loss of blood pressure, shock or unconsciousness during dental treatment. This is why training dentists and their assistants to prepare for the restlessness and anxiety of their youngest patients is so important. A humanoid robot can realistically simulate the behaviour of children during treatment – with fidgeting, wincing or clamping their mouths shut.

They hate the sound of the drill, are afraid of the suction system and close their mouths when they get an injection. Many small children do not like going to the dentist. The unexpected and jerky movements of the small patients often present great challenges for dentists and assistants.

Robot Pedia_Roid simulates movements and sudden changes in physical condition

The Japanese company tmsuk has developed the Pedia_Roid robot to practice correctly carrying out dental treatment for children. With its length of 110 cm and a weight of 23 kg, the Pedia_Roid is modelled on a five-year-old child. It is used in training, which is difficult to perform on live patients.

The robot moves its arms, legs and fingers deceptively realistically and simulates facial expressions using its mouth, eyelids and irises. However, the focus is on the simulation of a sudden change in physical condition, such as a spontaneous change in pupil size. Proportional pressure regulator valves with piezo technology from Festo ensure realistic movements.

The Pedia_Roid robot for training dentists and their assistants: piezo technology simulates lifelike movements.
The Pedia_Roid robot for training dentists and their assistants: piezo technology simulates lifelike movements.

The pneumatic piezo technology in the robot doll is robust, flexible and quiet

The pneumatic structure of the Pedia_Roid offers a great advantage, because students and trainees often have to hold the limbs of the robot doll during treatment simulations. This could damage the gears and spindles of electric drives. Here, pneumatics prove to be more robust and flexible than electric drive technology.

A total of 24 pneumatic cylinders are installed in a robot. Festo’s proportional pressure regulators VEAA and VEAB control the majority of cylinders. They do not produce clicking sounds when switching like classic pneumatic solenoid valves, which means that human-like behaviour can be simulated very quietly.

The piezo valves work like a capacitor and take up little space

Compared to solenoid valves, proportional valves with piezo technology also require virtually no external energy to operate. The piezo valve works similarly to a capacitor: To charge the ceramic it only needs electricity at the beginning. No further energy is required to maintain this state. This also means that there is no self-heating of the valves. They consume up to 95% less energy than solenoid valves that require permanent power. In addition, the valves are space-saving and have a low dead weight.

Due to their design, the proportional pressure regulators VEAA/VEAB are wear resistant and achieve a high number of cycles.
Due to their design, the proportional pressure regulators VEAA/VEAB are wear resistant and achieve a high number of cycles.

They are particularly suitable for pressure control tasks with small to very small air consumption with cylinders, but also where a high level of dynamism is required – such as with Pedia_Roid robots.

The first 50 Pedia_Roids worldwide are in production planning. They are then to be used at universities and technical schools in Japan, South East Asia and the Middle East. Other regions will follow ...