A group of engineering students at Seoul National University has developed a trampoline designed to produce compressed air and power high-speed dental tools. According to university officials, the set-up would help dentists in developing countries, where reliable power sources may be lacking.
A team led by Kim Jae-in, a student in the Mechanical Aviation Engineering Department of the school’s Engineering College, plans to provide the device to a delegation of volunteers from the university’s dental college that is scheduled to visit Tanzania next month to provide dental care.
The project was the result of an engineering course aimed at designing products that benefit developing countries and the impoverished at relatively reasonable costs, the school said.
The unit is designed to generate compressed air while children bounce on the trampoline. The action strokes several pneumatic cylinders which raises air pressure above atmospheric, and check valves let the pressurized air flow to a receiver tank, where it is stored.
According to the school, compressed air generated by the trampoline could have atmospheric pressure of 1 to 2 bars, or 14.5 to 29 psi, which is subsequently supplied to the dental equipment.
Kim said the trampoline produces compressed air vital to the operation of dental equipment on its own so that treatment could be made available in a country like Tanzania, where it is difficult to obtain compressed air for medical use.
“We hit upon a great idea of making the trampoline while thinking about a device that could make children have fun and help dental treatment there,” Kim said. Kim will join the volunteer group to watch the operation of the newly developed device in Tanzania.