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Device 'muffles' sound of dentist drill

10th January 2011

Scientists have designed a device which could help people who are afraid of visiting the dentists to get over their anxiety.

Child & Dentist

The device blanks out the sound of the dentist's drill while playing music on a MP3 player to the patient.

The patient can still hear what the dentist is saying as some of the sounds are not cancelled out.

The device transforms the noises of the dentist's surgery into a digital signal. A digital signal processor chip performs an analysis of the noises via a microphone.

The chip then emits an inverted sound wave to blank out certain noises in the signal. It also employs adaptive filtering to take out unwanted noises.

The device was designed by scientists working at Brunel University, London South Bank University and King's College, London.

The original idea came from Professor Brian Millar of King's Dental Institute.

He said: "Many people are put off going to the dentist because of anxiety associated with the noise of the dentist's drill, but this device has the potential to make fear of the drill a thing of the past."

"The beauty of this gadget is that it would be fairly cost-effective for dentists to buy, and any patient with an MP3 player would be able to benefit from it, at no extra cost."

 

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