Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eliminating the High-Pitched and Dreaded Dental Drill Sound Through Filtering

As if the dental drill (handpiece) was not bad enough, but the sound

What an outstanding idea.
If the high-pitched whine of the dentist’s drill fills you with fear, welcome relief is on the way.

Scientists have developed a device which plugs into an MP3 player or mobile phone and uses a filtering technique to cancel out the noise of the drill – but still allows the patient to listen to music through headphones and hear what the dentist is saying.

Studies have shown that for many it is the sound of the drill that causes the most anxiety about visiting the dentist.

People can still hear dentists and other staff speak to them - the tool only filters out the sounds of the high pitch of the drill.

The gadget contains a microphone and a chip which analyses the incoming sound wave and then produces an inverted wave to cancel out the unwanted noise.

It also uses technology called adaptive filtering to 'lock on' to sound waves and remove them, even if the amplitude and frequency change as the drill is being used.

The team from King’s College London, Brunel University and the London South Bank University hope the device could help patients overcome their dentist phobias.

The device was created by Professor Brian Millar at King’s College Dental Institute, who drew inspiration from carmaker Lotus, which has developed a system to remove road noise while allowing drivers to hear emergency sirens.
And, it would simple and cheap for the dentist to provide in the office.

I am positive that Professor Millar will find an investor, since every dental office will want several.

Now, what about a model for the dentist and his staff?