A thrilling journey

... from the Middle of (K)nowhere, Kuopio, to the Wild West, Salt Lake City.

17 June, 2024 / infocus
 Szabolcs 'Szabi' Felszeghy  

Global VR-haptic education meeting co-organised by the VR-Haptic Thinkers Team at the University of Eastern Finland!

I visited the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, for the first time in my life this summer, and I can hardly believe it took me an entire 26 hours to get there! But make it I did, to the capital city of Utah, and the Mormons…

How’d I get the chance to visit the Land of Mormons?

Despite being digital, the acquired skills have been shown to transfer to the real world

In a more and more digitised world filled with distractions, dental educators have the difficult task of educating the new generations of students. VR-haptic training allows educators to guide students in performing dental exercises within a haptically-enhanced digital world.

This can reduce the mental burden of students due to fear of failure, and they can practice on their own time and pace, even outside of teaching hours. Despite being digital, the acquired skills have been shown to transfer to the real world, giving educators more teaching tools before and during the more classical methods of practical dental education.

The second VR-Haptic Thinkers Meetup was held on the 7th of June at The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. It was given the theme of ‘VR-Haptic Dentistry, Pedagogy, and Curriculum Evolution. In the recent years, new challenges and opportunities have arisen in dental education and research, which have needed to react to the rapid changes happening in supportive VR-haptic education.

The free-to-join, hybrid VR-haptic meetup featured a robust program for engaging with those of the dental community who are curious about the new technologies and developments in dental education. VR-Haptic Thinkers’ second meetup attracted a good crowd.

The VR-Haptic Thinkers’ second meetup held online and at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, US, on 7 June 2024, attracted a good number of attendees from all over the world, with more than 29 different countries represented.

On this way, I’d like to thank Professor David Morton, Vice Chair of Dental and Medical Education, his team at the University of Utah for their help and our sponsors in ensuring the smooth running of our meetup. In particular, I would like to thank Dr Rebecca Stolberg, Vice President of Allied Dental Education and Faculty Development at ADEA, Dr Gül Gülsün, Chief, Innovation, Clinical Education and Public Health at ADEA, and Dr Ophir Klein, the 100th President of IADR, for attending and elevating our meetup.

In total, there were 17 presentations by dental and VR-haptics experts from around the world as well as a table set up for interaction between dental educators and professionals and major VR-haptic companies (The meetup schedule).

The speakers advocated for the implementation of a VR-haptic research strategy and engaging with it where and whenever possible. As there is much to be done yet before VR-haptic simulation adaptation will reach its optimum levels, significant new initiatives in dental pedagogy, curriculum development, and research will be set up.

The consensus is that it is important for the members of the global VR-Haptic Thinkers Consortium to be well-equipped to contribute to solving these challenges. VR-haptics represent a shift in oral health education, complementing traditional simulation learning methods with standardised, immersive and interactive experiences. The use of VR-haptics can also reduce the mental burden of students.

Edited by Mikko Liukkonen.

Tags: Haptics / VR

Categories: News

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