3D face scanning: Affordable and user-friendly

Traditional before and after 2D photographs and slides, while useful, are limited by head posture, head angulation and camera orientation, among other factors (Fig. 1). They provide only a fractional, incomplete picture and may thus be misleading in terms of spatial and dimensional investigation and analysis. In comparison, 3D face scanning allows for a comprehensive 3D view of the face that includes the position of the maxillary and mandibular arches in relation to facial soft tissues and is thus a game-changing technology for the twenty-first century. The leading scanning software, Qlone, has been created by EyeCue Vision Technologies, a developer of custom vision recognition-based solutions.

The innovative Qlone technology bridges the communication gap between the clinic and the dental laboratory, enabling dentists to easily and quickly collect comprehensive 3D data that is used to design restorations in the context of the patient’s face. After all, a smile is far more than just a set of teeth: it is the cumulative sum of a person’s face, comprising numerous hard and soft tissue components that are viewed from multiple angles. Assisted by 3D face scanning, dentists can readily and quickly show patients their own simulated smiles from various perspectives, enhancing patient motivation and promoting treatment acceptance. By facilitating and rationalising the digital dental workflow, 3D face scanning offers a new level of visualisation that not only improves the design process, but also reduces the need for costly adjustments and remakes, offering more efficient and effective dental care.

The world is a 3D world, not a flat canvas. People relate to this 3D world through their senses. Unlike traditional 2D images, 3D models offer a photorealistic representation of objects, capturing every minute detail with stunning accuracy. The 3D models are rendered from every angle, providing a comprehensive view that 2D images simply cannot match. This multidimensional perspective makes 3D models feel more natural to experience, mirroring the way the world is perceived in daily life. Thus, 3D models bridge the gap between digital representation and real-world experience, offering a new level of visualisation that is immersive, interactive and incredibly lifelike.

While the benefits of 3D face scanning in dentistry are clear, the adoption of this technology is hindered by two major factors: the high costs of scanning equipment and the technological complexity associated with scanning operations. Most of the currently available systems are expensive hardware-based scanners that are challenging to operate. The significant financial investment required to acquire these scanning devices and the time and effort required to learn to use them are a major deterrent to dental clinics integrating them into their daily routine. The high cost of these scanners makes them inaccessible to most clinics operating on a tight budget. As a result, despite the potential advantages, the use of 3D face scanning technology remains significantly limited in the dental field. These issues highlight the need for more affordable and user-friendly solutions that can bring the power of 3D face scanning into the mainstream dental practice.

The Qlone 3D Scanner app is a revolutionary solution that brings the power of 3D face scanning to the iPhone (Figs. 2 & 3). This groundbreaking app is designed with a user-friendly interface that makes 3D scanning as easy as taking a selfie. The app itself is simple, but encompasses many useful tools. The Qlone app is packed with advanced features that make it a powerful tool for dental professionals. These include an extensive suite of built-in editing tools for cleaning, smoothing, sculpting, simplifying and enhancing the 3D models (Fig. 4). The all-in-one app also includes an instant augmented reality view mode, which allows examination of the 3D model in the local environment, and an advanced artificial intelligence-supported search function, which allows easy navigation through the 3D model gallery.

Fig. 5: Qlone exocad example image.

Fig. 5: Qlone exocad example image.

Possibly the most important feature of the Qlone app is its focus on patient privacy. Unlike other solutions that store data on external servers, the app ensures that patient data remains confidential; no images or 3D data are stored on external servers. Qlone offers a variety of export options in popular formats, such as OBJ, PLY and STL, making it easy to integrate with existing dental CAD software, such as exocad, 3Shape, Medit and Blue Sky Bio (Fig. 5).

The face scanning feature of the Qlone 3D Scanner app is revolutionary. Qlone utilises a highly optimised process to capture detailed and clear face scans. The user-friendly interface provides real-time coverage of the scanning process, making it easy for users to ensure that they are capturing all the necessary data (Fig. 6). A significant part of the technology lies in selecting the appropriate set of images for the technology that creates the 3D models of the faces. This is based on a fusion of state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms that perform various functions, including fine-tuning the camera’s exposure settings to make sure no motion blur is introduced and automatic selection of the optimal blend of angles to achieve the best overall result.

Fig. 6: User-friendly interface, providing real-time coverage of the scanning process.

Fig. 6: User-friendly interface, providing real-time coverage of the scanning process.

Dental technicians have begun incorporating the Qlone app into their digital workflows. Qlone’s low cost and seamless integration capabilities make it an attractive solution for clinics looking to enhance their services without breaking the bank. Users can download the iPhone version and test its most basic features free. The face scanning feature, scanning in 4K resolution and exporting the 3D models require a single one-time premium upgrade fee.

The Qlone 3D Scanner app is far more than just a cost-effective scanning solution. It is a comprehensive tool that empowers dental professionals to provide better care for their patients. By bringing 3D face scanning to the iPhone, the app makes advanced dental technology accessible to clinics around the world. With its commitment to patient privacy and ease of use, the company sets a new standard for 3D scanning in the field of dentistry. More information about Qlone is available on its website, and a video of the app demonstrating a dental use case is available on YouTube.

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