Zurich - An app from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) is bringing the pictures in a textbook to life for budding dental specialists. Game mechanisms enhance the understanding of bone remodeling processes in the jaw and offer more opportunities for interaction.

An app from ETH Zurich is helping student dental specialists understand their Cell-​to-Cell Communication textbook in a gamified way. The AR Osteoclasts app was created by game developer Jascha Grübel, from the ETH Game Technology Center (GTC), in collaboration with Bernd Stadlinger, Chief of Service at the Department of Cranio-​Maxillofacial and Oral Surgery at the Center for Dental Medicine of the University of Zürich and a member of the ETH AI Center. The latter helped author the cell atlas. “Turning the contents of a book into an interactive experience is new,” said Grübler in an ETH press release.

The AR Osteoclast app is available for free download from all app stores. When students point the camera of their tablet or smartphone at a certain image in their Cell-​to-Cell Communication textbook, they end up on the bone surface next to a blood vessel.  Across six chapters, students face decisions such as what quantity of hydrochloric acid or enzyme are needed to dissolve the bone or how to best repair the bone.

To find the right balance between play, science and education, the game developers entered into an intense exchange of ideas with dental specialists, researchers and the publishers. Now the game is to be realized in virtual reality, as GTC’s Managing Director Fabio Zünd explained, this “offers more opportunities for interaction and allows us to study how people and the computer interact”.

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