Many dentists purchase dozens of excellent chairs, use them for a couple of years, and then stress out when it’s time to switch locations. If your dental chairs are installed into the floors, you’ll basically need to spend one entire moving day learning how to relocate them. To avoid this, invest in portable dental chairs that won’t bust your budget.
During a visit to the dentist, 23-year-old industrial designer Leah Kenttämaa-Squires began thinking about how to improve dental care in developing countries. Before the dentist had arrived, she had already had come up with the basic design for a dental and medical chair that facilitates transport of dentist equipment . “When I got home, I researched on the Internet about what's on the market, what's been used and what are the problems," recent graduate of Purdue University Leah Kenttämaa-Squires explains. "Then I interviewed dentists and doctors about what they needed to treat patients in Third World countries."
Known as the Mantis, the patent-pending portable dental chair can be used for dental care and physical treatments. “We call the chair the Mantis because of its design to morph into different shapes for different uses,” Kenttämaa-Squires explains. When not in use by patients, the lightweight chair can be converted into a dolly, enabling it to be used to carry supplies. It also can be used as an examination table
The chair, which was developed in collaboration with Purdue graduate student Kyle Amick, is also designed to be comfortable for patients and inexpensive. “It was a real challenge to balance the critical components of cost vs. complexity,” Kenttämaa-Squires says. “But we feel we have created that with the Mantis.” It offers an adjustable headrest, and enables patients to lean back in an ergonomically correct position during dental or medical care. The chair will be much cheaper than currently available portable chairs, which can cost thousands of dollars. “We wanted to create one that worked just as well [as the more-expensive models] but also is cost-effective so it can be used in Third World countries,” Kenttämaa-Squires says. While traditional, stationary dental chairs use motors for positioning, the Mantis doesn’t have any gears or motors.
The chair is offered for licensing or commercializing through the Purdue Research Foundation’s Office of Technology Commercialization. According to Kenttämaa-Squires, the chair could be on the market as soon as two years.