How Augmented Reality facilitates dental treatments
Interview with Roland Mörzinger, CEO and co-founder of Kapanu AG (Zurich/Switzerland)
Mr Mörzinger, what does Augmented Reality mean?
Roland Mörzinger: Augmented Reality expands the real world with virtual contents. In most cases, this means the superimposition of additional digital information on live images or videos. For instance, if you watch a live football game in Augmented Reality, the distance from the line to the goal is displayed during a free kick by means of a circle or line.
What has Augmented Reality to do with the dental world?
Roland Mörzinger: Augmented Reality is an exciting topic for the dental world and offers enormous possibilities. In concrete terms, the question is how this technology can facilitate dental treatment procedures - from planning with the patient to the collaboration between the dentist and dental technician.
Can you explain your technology in more detail in relation to this?
Roland Mörzinger: Our flagship project is called “Kapanu Augmented Reality Engine”. Our software allows users to superimpose their dental designs onto recordings of the patient in natural motion. To do so, they can import 3D models of patient-specific dental restorations as well as teeth from tooth libraries that contain natural-looking beautiful teeth. These digital models can then be viewed in real time. This virtual try-in allows patients to see their new smile before they consent to the treatment. In addition, visualization of the treatment goal facilitates the communication not only with the patient but also between the dental professionals.
Kapanu was present at Ivoclar Vivadent's stand at IDS 2017. What did you show there?
Roland Mörzinger: Our “Kapanu Augmented Reality Engine”, as it were, premiered at IDS. Using a light hearted approach, we were able to show visitors what possibilities Augmented Reality holds in store for dentists, dental technicians and patients. The visitors were encouraged to have a go at the new technology with the help of an app and 3D images. They were able to see themselves with new teeth or bleachings in natural motion. Those who wanted could take a selfie and send it to themselves.
What response did you get?
Roland Mörzinger: The response was overwhelming. There was virtually a non-stop flow of visitors coming to our stand. After some time we even realized that we did not have to guide them through the process anymore. They tried the apps out themselves and sent themselves selfies without needing any help from us. We were really pleased to see this because, firstly, it was proof to us that the topic was popular, and, secondly, it impressively showed that this technology is user-friendly and straightforward to use - self-explanatory, so to speak. And that is exactly how it should be: high-tech but easy to use so that no obstacles or reservations stop people from using it.
Please briefly summarize the advantages of Augmented Reality for dental professionals in the future.
Roland Mörzinger: I can imagine that this technology will make visible what the treatment results will look like in the future. You can check if everything matches and see if the patient likes the restoration. This will make the treatment more efficient.
How important, do you think, is digitization in the dental field?
Roland Mörzinger: In my opinion, there is no way to get past digitization. The feedback at the fair also showed that many dental customers welcome smart digitization and, to some extent, also expect the industry to offer them digital solutions.
What or who is actually Kapanu?
Roland Mörzinger: Kapanu AG is a start-up and spin-off company of ETH Zurich. The firm was founded in 2015. It is based on a highly qualified team of scientists and developers specializing in innovative software for the dental industry. In June 2017, Ivoclar Vivadent acquired Kapanu AG. Since then, we have been working together on the development of innovative dental applications that connect real-life processes with the digital world.
See here how Augmented Reality is used in dentistry!
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