New dental camera inspired by insect eyes

Engineers from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and Korea Photonics Technology Institute have developed a new insect-inspired dental camera for varied imaging. Traditional dental imaging has a limited scope with the ability to view teeth from alternate angles for dental health inspection, which uses portable mirrors and cameras. Compact intraoral dental cameras can overcome these limitations and scan the condition of teeth, but these are also limited by depth of field and field of view.

To overcome these limitations and provide detailed views of the inside of the mouth, researchers designed a new wide-angle insect camera, known as the Biologically inspired intraoral camera (BIOC), which provides functional imaging to meet patient needs. The BIOC was designed using a convex-concave lens, inverted microlens arrays (iMLA) and a single CMOS image sensor on a flexible printed circuit board mounted on a telescoping handle. The convex-concave lens increases the field of view to 143 degrees and the iMLAs reduce optical aberration thanks to the scaling law. Additionally, the camera alleviates many of the chronic problems of conventional intraoral cameras, such as limited depth of field, thick overall track length, and limited functional imaging.

The ultra-thin dental camera offers precise dental imaging without image blur by mimicking the insect vision function of infinite depth of field and provides high dynamic range, 3D depth and autofluorescence imaging and a system of multi-channel view. The engineers hope that the BIOC camera will contribute to the technical progress of biomedical engineering and have a significant impact on various vision applications, including surveillance, smartphones and drones.

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