Dental students embrace new learning technology

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Dental students embrace new learning technology


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Dental students at the University of Queensland in Brisbane have been experimenting with augmented reality to help advance their skills before heading into the workforce. (Image: University of Queensland)

Tue. 31. December 2020


BRISBANE, Australia: In an exciting advancement in the health education field, dental students and medical nurses have been experimenting with augmented reality to help build their skills and knowledge. Different to virtual reality (VR), which provides a fully artificial environment, augmented reality is an overlay of computer-generated content onto the physical surroundings.

As with VR, students use headsets to make use of the technology. Created by Pearson Education and using Microsoft technology to help deliver it to the user, the app HoloHuman is being used by students from the School of Dentistry at the University of Queensland to get an unparalleled view of the human body.

The app has been providing an opportunity for immersive 3D exploration of anatomy, with dental students focusing on the head and neck. The students describe the experience as like having radiographic vision, as they can see through the skin and explore the depths and layers of the human body. However, the interactive learning does not stop with those using the headset. Working as a single unit or simultaneously with groups of students, the unit allows the rest of the class to follow along on laptops or projector screens, seeing exactly what the user sees.

In the same way as the dental students have been using the HoloHuman app, nursing students from the same university have been using an app called HoloPatient. The program allows students to walk 360 degrees around the patient hologram and assess their symptoms, watch their breathing, monitor their vital signs and then discuss the patient with classmates and teachers.

Both apps have video recording capabilities and provide the option of assessments and revision. This means that students have more possibilities to gain valuable practice before moving into the next stage of their careers. According to the university, the program is set to be introduced into other areas of the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences at some point in the future.

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