Can the dentist experience be improved?

Hardware people, listen up. I need you to come up with a new product for using on the dentist’s chair. Here are the requirements:

  • Be a complete distraction from whatever is going on around the user. Cannot stress this enough. My dentist told me today that her major concern is dealing not with her patient’s dental issues but rather with their anxiety as they come in for treatment.
  • A type of media device. Video and audio at the very least. Maybe games, depending on usability of controls.
  • Be as immersive as possible but still allow the user to hear the dentist’s requests.
  • Don’t rely on a touchscreen for commands. Design the interface and controls like you’re designing an interface for the blind. This is one of the frustrations I have when listening to music with on iPods or phones: the devices are very hard to manage when you cannot look at them. A simple music player has controls that are easier to navigate without looking.

    An Illustrative photo. You didn't think I'd show you actual dental work, did you?

    An Illustrative photo. You didn’t think I’d show you actual dental work, did you?

  • Don’t interfere with the dentist’s tools in terms of taking up space on the face.
  • Price: this can be a lower-priced item that patient can buy for other uses as well. It can also be a more expensive item that dentists provide to patients, in which case consider either covering the parts that touch the patient with nylon bags (like other dental tools) or providing a way to sanitize those parts.

I did consider the Oculus Rift as a product that answers these demands. I haven’t had a chance to try it out and it may be too immersive to work well. Has anyone tried it?



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