Haptics is the study of human touch and interaction with the external environment via touch.

The project aims to design, develop and evaluate haptic and synthetic devices that will be used by a range of dental students and professionals to enhance the quality of their learning.

The main development includes two versions of workstations: 12 curriculum versions (i.e. low-end haptic systems) and a lab-based version (i.e. high-end haptic system), The first is to create, develop and implement test bed teaching workstations for the undergraduate dental courses in Kings (and subsequently post-graduate MClinDent programmes) in particular to expose the problems and advantages of digital skills training in the undergraduate phantom head course. The second is to advance the field of haptics technologies in dental education and training, in particular to develop workable algorithms for simulating the dental procedures such as needle-injections, cutting, drilling, filling, such that a sufficiently realistic experience is available to allow the skills at a subsequent stage to be applied when treating a patient.

Project Strands

The project work is divided into three strands:
Strand 1 – the technical strand to develop, evaluate and refine haptic devices and online simulations;
Strand 2 – the curriculum and context strand to develop and refine the dental curriculum and associated teaching strategies through a blended learning approach;
Strand 3 – the educational evaluation strand to measure the impact of the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) devices on teaching and learning.

Project Outcomes

The project has reached a milestone where 12 hapTEL curriculum versions have been embedded in the undergraduate dental curriculum (installed in a computer lab) and are being used by 144 Year 1 students. They have also been trialed with selected Year 2 students and postgraduate students as part of the residential component of the MClinDent (Prostthodontics) course.

We are developing a comprehensive taxonomy of the characteristics of haptics and complementary devices on how they contribute to the range of manipulative skills needed. This will be linked to those attitudinal and belief factors of those involved in teaching the students or tutoring them, to produce a theoretical framework which can be used by other researchers to analyse new technologies in education in the future.

The educational evaluation we are conducting include the evaluation of teachers’ pedagogical practices, the students’ learning (focusing on attitudes and specific spatial reasoning measurements and skills), the incorporation into the Dental programmes and the devel-opment of the theoretical frameworks and models of learners. Large scale evaluation involves comparing the standard approach to teaching with a teaching approach accompanied by haptic devices. This is complemented by qualitative measurements based on specific tasks using observations and records of student activities and, screen and haptic operations.

hapTEL office, Room 18.1 Floor 18
Centre of Flexible Learning at Guy’s
King’s College London, University of London
Guy’s Hospital, Tower Wing
London SE1 9RT
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)20 -7188-1827 Fax: +44 (0)20 -7188-6444
E-mail: haptel@kcl.ac.uk
Website: http://www.haptel.kcl.ac.uk

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Whats next for hapTEL and TEL?

Further Information

Project Team
Project Video
Project Website


King’s College London
University of Reading
Birmingham City University

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