Its creators claim that Simroid, a next-generation dental patient simulator, has been developed to provide more emotional feedback to dentists in training. But I see the truth here; it's just another way robots are preparing us for their eventual takeover.

Developed at the Nippon Dental University Hospital with dental equipment maker Morita Manufacturing, Simroid is actually an upgrade to Simuloid, a less sophisticated dental training robot created back in 2007. What sets Simroid apart is advancements in robotics and artificial intelligence that now make it react with more lifelike and emotional responses. Sensors in and around the mouth allow it to feel simulated pain and discomfort, which it will react to negatively, making students more conscious of their technique. It can even react with discomfort when the dentist-to-be's elbow comes into contact with its breast, so its creators have thought of everything.

A new artificial skin has been used instead of silicone, which can easily tear when the robot has to open its mouth wide, and Simroid is now been equipped with far better communication skills. Speech recognition capabilities allow it to respond and react to questions or commands, so students can work on their bedside, or chairside, manner. It's even able to rate and evaluate their treatment, with two cameras monitoring the student's every move, and readings from its sensors being recorded throughout the procedure. In fact, the only thing the robot isn't capable of is having any kind of emotional preference between the complimentary red or blue toothbrush at the end of its checkup. [DigInfo via TechCrunch]