Science News

Tooth for a Tooth, buy an Eye for Virtual Reality...

Sat, 22nd Jul 2006

Part of the show Exploding Jellyfish, Marine Conservation and Sharks

Allegedly 1 million people in the UK fail to visit the dentist because of a phobia, but perhaps they'd be more willing to attend if they could use Finnish inventor Ismo Kartunnen's virtual reality headset. The device consists of a pair of goggles equipped with miniature TV screens which show distracting images or movies acompanied by sound. They leave a small area around the periphery to avoid users feeling claustrophobic but critically they block out the central field of view so that wearers are spared the sight of the dentist baring down on them with a drill. In initial trials users of the headset needed less or no anaesthetic for some dental procedures, and trials of the gadget during minor surgical procedures at a hospital revealed the same result. Apparently the most popular viewing on the ehadset is Robbie Williams, and Sting. No wonder, after 20 minutes of Robbie Williams most people would be willing to pull their own teeth out.

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