This story, and variations of it, are all over the web now:
Japanese turn sex doll into dental-training robotTokyo university reveals realistic synthi-patient, claims “root canal” gags play no part in its appealBy Mark Hiratsuka 1 July, 2011
Tokyo frequently presents a story that’s borderline fiction — sex dolls for cavity-filling practice, puhlease — but the pedigree of the new Hanako Showa 2 dental training robot tells us this is no product of a fevered imagination.
We previously saw big sister, plain Jane Hanako Showa, in early 2010, noting that the synthetic patient was being used in the Showa University dental school for more than simple caries-evacuation practice on her plumbed-in dentures.
That model even incorporated the concept of being female simply so junior dentists could learn not to accidentally fondle her breasts. We kid you not.
So, a year and a half later, little sis makes her bow sheathed not in her sibling’s PVC skin, but lifelike silicone, and sporting a host of internal modifications besides.
Hanako 2 genuinely is based on a Dutch Wife-style love doll from Orient Industry in Tokyo’s Taito Ward — trust us, you don’t want to click that link at work — giving her a head start in the “realistic” stakes.
Aside from the human-feel skin on her face, mouth and tongue, she also contains robotics that allow her to mimic a range of motions, including sneezing and gagging when clumsy trainees dip their instruments too far into her gullet.
Talkative, ain’t she?
Hanako 2 also has the gift of the gab and can chat with her human companions about how she’s feeling, what ails her and, probably, how she can manage to speak with all that medical metal in her face.
Japan being Japan, there’s clearly no scope for the tried-and-trusted medical school technique of pulling passersby in off the street for a free “checkup.”
Rather, Tokyo’s finest would-be dentists get to grapple with a chimera created originally for self-gratification, but packed instead with cutting-edge robotics and put to work in the name of a nation’s oral health. It’s a beautiful thing.
My first reaction to this was, “Wow, here’s another example of Japanese technical wizardry being put to a good use! It’s certain better to train dentists with dolls that can react like real patients than with real patients that might be injured or infected due to a mistake.” Continue reading →