Monday, January 30, 2006

Calling All Dentists

This afternoon I spent an hour in a dentist's chair. It wasn't very painful, thanks to modern technology and professional competence, but it was boring. I have a solution to that problem.

A number of firms produce video headsets aka head-mounted displays--goggles that create a virtual screen in front of the wearer. If my dentist provided me with one, connected to a computer, possibly my own laptop, with a mouse or equivalent where I could reach it, perhaps even a keyboard in my lap… .

I could browse the internet, play a video game, watch a DVD. The headset would be well above the dentist's working area, the controls well below. No longer would I tax the patience of dentist and technician trying to hold a magazine or PDA--I read books on PDA--where it could be seen but would not be in the way. No longer would they tax my patience with long procedures.

And if it did hurt a little, I might not notice--depending on just how absorbing the video game, or Usenet argument, happened to be.


sierra said...

You don't need multimedia or virtual reality; you need a dentist with a sense of humor.

Anonymous said...

It seems the page andyhat linked to mostly focuses on watching movies with the glasses. The problem there is that few dental procedures last as long as a standard movie.

Connecting it to a computer sounds like an awesome idea, especially if you could bring your own laptop and the dentist had an internet connection avaliable.

Scott said...

My dentist usually communicates with me while cleaning. "Open wider," "Rinse," "See this? This gunk here? That's what floss is for."

If the patient was distracted, such communication might prove difficult.

Anonymous said...

Freaky, David---I too was at the dentist today, to get some work done (yes drills were involved).

But maybe my dentist was more high-tech than yours, because his chairs have LCD TVs mounted at the far end.

Unfortunately this isn't as nice a solution as the VR link andyhat posted, since once the work begins, you have to look up at the ceiling instead of at the TV.

I also made matters worse on myself by turning on CNBC. Apparently the energy industry can be completely explained by the machinations of the fed's policy (never mind supply and demand or anything). Ouch!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but then you wouldn't hear them when they say, "Spit..."

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know why no one has come up with something along those lines for exercise clubs.

My intuition is that it shouldn't be that hard to cook up some video game coupled to an exercise bike or treadmill, and contrive it to tickle human impulses for chasing, escaping, and otherwise maneuvering, so the poor user naturally tends to maintain a healthy level of activity. Given that World of Workoutcraft hasn't swept the world yet, I assume I'm wrong somehow, but I'm not sure why.
-- Bill Newman, who hasn't figured out this "choose an identity" thing yet

David Friedman said...

I have a description of an exercise video game webbed at:
(unwrap the URL)

along with a variety of other products I would like to see. I wrote it a long time ago; at this point several things along those lines, most notably dance machines, are available on the market.

Anonymous said...

I once used a dentist in San Francisco for some major work. He insisted on giving me laughing gas AND earphones attached to a cd system (I got to pick out the CD).

It's years later and I am still smiling about the experience.

TheVidra said...

oh, but without the distractions of quickly-moving pictures in front of you, and an array of strident sounds pounding your auditory system, you could think clearly and logically about the very interesting ideas you write about! or is the anticipation of dentist-induced pain enough to distract you from your though process? :)