When people bite into a piece of chocolate, they feel great pleasure as the sweetness rushes through their palate. However, at the same time it increases the threat of causing cavities. Although visiting the dentist often is recommended, the process is unfortunately quite cumbersome and expensive. Also, it is difficult for people to check their dental condition on their own. Due to these problems, the team Joobionse came up with a new dental health platform called Dentor. This new program would lessen these worries by providing a self-diagnosis program.
Joobionse is a team composed of students from the School of Art and Design at Korea University (KU). The name of the team originated from the combination of the members Kim Nam-ju (School of Art and Design) and Won Se-hyeon’s (School of Art and Design) nicknames. The two have been working on various projects and are currently proceeding with a business related to product design. Professor Park Seung-min (School of Art and Design) was a mentor to the team while making the product Dentor.
The students submitted Dentor as an assignment in a course called Product Development, which was conducted by Professor Park. This assignment connected academics and business, requiring students to apply the knowledge acquired from school and brainstorm capstone designs, which means creative and synthetic designs. Based on its uniqueness and practicality, Dentor was awarded first place among
the 25 assignments and was given an opportunity to be presented in a design conference held by Samsung. Dentor also won an award from the capstone design contest in KU and received the Professional Concept prize from the iF Design Award held in Germany this year, which is one of the three most famous international design awards.
Taking a Closer Look at the Distinctive Functions
As can be inferred from its name, Dentor deals with people’s dental issues; it is a self-diagnosis platform to check people’s dental condition. When a user uses Dentor, it diagnoses the user’s dental state and provides a customized care kit for the user. Joobionse designed this platform because they thought that most dental diseases are due to the difficulty people have in assessing their dental state on their own. “The dental care industry is gradually developing, but there are still many patients suffering from dental problems,” added Professor Park. “Therefore, they wanted to solve the problems people suffer from by using the platform Dentor and prevent dental diseases, before it is too late to cure.”
Using Dentor, people can run a selfdiagnosis test with their smartphones linked to a mobile app. The platform can be activated by using two main devices: Checker and Care. When the Checker is connected to a smart phone, it examines the users’ dental condition and allows them to check the analyzed results through its application. The service mainly diagnoses cavities, halitosis and discoloration of the teeth, and these can be identified through the camera and sensors of the users’ smartphones. Since the results are saved within one’s cellphone, users can refer back to it whenever they want.
▲ Figure of Checker
▲ Care Kit Provided by Dentor
Based on the saved test result, the platform suggests each user all the different kinds of methods and tools to help them care for their teeth effectively. Moreover, Dentor provides users with a customized care kit including real dental care tools such as a personalized toothbrush, toothpaste, or even dental floss. Through this Care function, people can manage their dental health fittingly according to the condition of their teeth. Furthermore, by subscribing to the platform, users can receive customized messages monthly for their health care.
In the interview with Professor Park, he also introduced the important technical features which Dentor has. “Its core distinctive factors include three main keywords: daily, steady and customized,” stated Professor Park. Dentor aims to suggest not a professional but an easy and daily dental management service and make patients take a more careful look at their dental state. Also, the team intended Dentor to take care of the patients’ health by sending customized kits. As they used a mobile app to be more approachable, the public can encounter them more easily. Their approach to grab the dental patients’ minds was successfully acknowledged, winning various prizes even on the international stage.
To Create Optimal Designs for Users
In fact, as the team was organized with two university students and one professor, there were several difficulties while making this platform. When devising ideas about the design during the initial stage, problems occurred regarding the issues between the pattern of users using the devices and a realistic way to make the platform modulate the patterns. However, after they changed the concept model everal times and tried to find a more realistic and practical one, they were able to eventually come up with a practical and delicate version of the product
“The role of design is not just making a beautiful and convenient product but making the product proper for each person using it,” said Professor Park.“Watching and empathizing with the perspective of the users would be an important key for designers from now on in the fourth industrial revolution period.” He hoped that more and more researches and inventions for customized product design, service, and business models will come out. From this point of view, Dentor can be differentiated from the other smart health care services and has shown a new standard for design to follow.
Despite several difficulties during the development process as undergraduate students, catching the tiny problems in people’s daily lives and finding solutions through several challenges in the devising process were successfully achieved, leading to worldwide acknowledgement. As Professor Park said, although modern times are called the era of artificial intelligence (AI), the human-centered design should be the core aim for designers during product development. Instead, combining the traditional style of design and modern technology using digital devices would widen the field of design. This could further lead to producing ideal and proper products for the users’ lifestyles.