Development of Human Tongue Model for Mealtime Assistant Training Using Oral Care Simulation Model
Atsushi Mitani*, and Masumi Muramatsu**
*School of Design, Sapporo City University
1 Geijyutsu-no-mori, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido 005-0864, Japan
**School of Nursing, Sapporo City University, Sapporo, Japan
In the recent years, Japan has been facing the problem of an aged society, and oral care is an important aspect in maintaining the oral health of elderly persons. Swallowing disorders, caused by various factors, are one of the most severe oral problems associated with advancing age. A mealtime assistant can help elderly persons in this situation, and thus, mealtime assistance is considered as an essential skill for students in nursing education. There are, however, some problems in mealtime assistant training in nursing schools. For example, there are few instructors compared to the number of students and few opportunities in clinical situations. Therefore, training through simulation has received significant attention as an effective educational process for students in medical and nursing schools. We have attempted to develop an oral care simulator and corresponding software to provide nursing students with an effective oral care training environment. Previously, we developed a prototype model of an oral care simulator for learning tooth brushing. In this study, we developed a tongue model for a mealtime assistant simulation model. Incorrect meal assistance may lead to mouth injury and aspiration pneumonia. To prevent such situations, the caregiver must serve the meal on an appropriate position on the tongue using a spoon, and must release it safely. This paper describes a summary of the developed mealtime assistant simulator and the procedures of tongue model development using three-dimensional computer-assisted design (3D-CAD) and 3D printing. We also developed a sensor system to be embeded in the tongue model to detect spoon motion. The sensor system for the tongue model was evaluated through spoon detection experiments.
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