One of my biggest fears is going to the dentist. When we noticed the Planmeca challenge, I knew it was a match. We wanted to build something that could alleviate the fear, yet be something unintrusive and easy to implement. So, we started looking at the different equipment and service phases that people go through at the dental clinic. And just like that, we spotted our chance.
What it does
Our solution replaces the traditional "sunglasses" used to protect the patient's eyes with tinted AR glasses. We use the glasses to display a gamified narrative to the patient and the main achievement of this is to take patient's mind off the procedure. When the patient is thinking about something completely else, the focus is not on the different instruments, but in the game. In addition, we interviewed dentists, who confirmed that they would like the patient to think of something completely else during the care, because more often that not, it's not really helping.
How it does it
The game is not intrusive and does not produce strong emotional or physical reactions that cause sudden movements or feelings or frustration. The current version is built for children, because that's where we can have the biggest impact in the long term, but new versions could be built with adults in mind.
Since the patient's hands are still free, they can control the game with a remote. With that same remote, they can communicate with the dentist with predefined messages, as it is quite difficult to speak while a stranger has their fingers in your mouth.
How I built it
FIrst, we analyzed the different actions and phases patients go through when visiting a clinic. We recognized many painpoints, but the anxiety is most intense when sitting in the chair. We chose to use AR technology because it doesn't change the service itself much, and yet brings something very cool to the table.
We built the demo game with Unity, which can be ported directly to an Android mobile device.
Challenges I ran into
Part of our team was sick during the weekend, which made this a bit harder to execute. Also, we did not see how to properly incorporate the dentist's tools and imaging data without creating more work for the dentist or the patient.
While making a game that's playable with only couple buttons sounds relatively easy, most of the time actually went into brainstorming on what kind of game doesn't produce strong physical reactions and still maintains immersion.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We went from no idea to a working AR game in one day. We address a true problem, which affects a large number of people.
What I learned
People can actually have good memories from their dentist appointment instead of being traumatized. Also learned a lot about the new machinery provided by Planmeca.
What's next for DentAR care
Building a pilot together with Planmeca and proving it has a beneficial impact on the user experience both during and after the visit to a dentist. Once the first version is out, we plan to design a more adult-oriented game with different content.
p.s. the game runs locally, so visit our table (D10) to check it out!