Plaster casts or models are the nemesis of Orthodontists. There are rumors of Orthodontists being killed because the hundreds and hundreds of orthodontic plaster models they store in their attics collapsed on them from the immense weight.
This new robotic device scans the impressions (you know the yucky stuff they put in your mouth to make in imprint of your teeth when you get braces). Usually, plaster is poured into these impressions to make a model of the teeth which aids in diagnosis of the orthodontic case. The scanner uses a laser light to scan the impression in different orientations. Then a digital image is produced on the computer replication what the plaster model would look like.
So, no more plaster models! Here is the digital result that can be rotated and displayed for the orthodontist and the patient to view. Maybe someday we can do away with the yucky impression altogether. (they are actually working on that with 3d x-ray machines. One x-ray gets the panoramic, cephalometric, and models with just one image).
(click to view larger)