Economic and Social Research Council
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New tools for dental students. Haptic mouth unveiled at Virtual Dental Laboratory launch

TLRP-TEL’s hapTEL project (Haptic Technology Enhanced Learning) launches its new Virtual Dental Laboratory at King’s College London’s Guy’s Hospital on Monday 26th October, featuring a state of the art, 3D, anatomically correct virtual mouth.

The device provides a crucial intermediary stage in the development of dental students’ skills before beginning practice on real patients. The project uses haptic (virtual touch) technology as well as online media to create training tools. The team hopes to integrate this technology into the curriculum, enhancing and personalising the students’ learning.

Professor Cox says ‘by practising as many times as they like on a very realistic virtual patient, students can improve their skills without the worry of causing harm, embarrassment or fear to real patients’.

Project Senior Research Officer Alastair Barrow explains that a variety of different technologies including stereoscopic glasses, gaze capture cameras, a force feedback device and sound effects give a ‘highly realistic recreation of the drilling process’. 

The project is part of the £12m TLRP-TEL programme funded jointly by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and directed by Professor Richard Noss of the London Knowledge Lab.  Professor Noss said “This project holds the promise of informing the design of haptic devices for learning in and beyond the dental context”.

For more information on the hapTEL project contact:

Margaret Cox on 07940 373 919, email

Jonathan P. San Diego, on 07889 945 453 or 020 7188 1831, email


For more information on the TLRP-TEL programme contact:

Richard Noss on 0777 333 1578, email

James O’Toole on 07789 380 971, email





Notes to editors


  1. The £1.5m hapTEL project (2007-2011) has an interdisciplinary team of 20 researchers led by Professor Margaret Cox at King’s College London in partnership with colleagues at the University of Reading and Birmingham City University . More on this project can be found at and the other TLRP-TEL projects at 
  2. The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) is the ’s main agency for funding research in engineering and the physical sciences. The EPSRC invests around £740 million a year in research and postgraduate training, to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. The areas covered range from information technology to structural engineering, and mathematics to materials science. This research forms the basis for future economic development in the and improvements for everyone’s health, lifestyle and culture. EPSRC also actively promotes public awareness of science and engineering. EPSRC works alongside other Research Councils with responsibility for other areas of research. More at
  3. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the 's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s planned total expenditure in 2009/10 is £204 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.  More at  

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