Hanako, a robot designed in Japan, has a mouthful of sensors that let her realistically react to the proddings and pokings of dentists in training. Let me be clear, dentists in training: no robot can loathe you like I do.
While I will begrudgingly admit that the "polish" phase of the dentist check-up is not altogether unpleasurable, one of the things that essentially defines us as humans is our general reluctance to visit the dentist. Most people will go their entire life without finding themselves in a position more vulnerable than the one they're in every six months at the dentist - prone, mouth open, with a steel hook clanking around your chompers.
Hanako, the combined effort of three universities and a robotics manufacturer, salivates, sneezes and shouts her displeasure if the dental student doesn't wield that hook gently enough. The robot can open and shut her mouth, wiggle her tongue and roll her eyes to express discomfort.
Don't get me wrong. I applaud the effort to give dental students more realistic responses in their training. But they should know that no robot will ever squirm quite like I do. [CrunchGear]