Dentsply Sirona has been granted a patent for a method, system, and computer-readable storage media that allows dental machines to be operated through an augmented reality control interface. The technology enables hands-free control of dental machines using body parts other than the upper limbs, such as the lower limbs, to send instructions to a different user interface. The method involves providing a footswitch as the first user interface, overlaying an augmented reality user interface on the first user interface, and controlling the second user interface through control signals from the first user interface. GlobalData’s report on Dentsply Sirona gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Dentsply Sirona, AI-assisted medical imaging was a key innovation area identified from patents. Dentsply Sirona's grant share as of September 2023 was 57%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Augmented reality control interface for operating dental machines

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Dentsply Sirona Inc

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11771506B2) describes a computer-implemented method and system for utilizing augmented visualization to control dental machines. The method involves providing a first user interface, which includes a footswitch, and a second user interface with physical or graphical elements that allow interaction between the dental machine and the user. An augmented reality user interface is then provided, which corresponds to the second user interface and can be overlaid on the first user interface or a stereoscopic video/projection of it. The augmented reality user interface appears to be directly superimposed on the first user interface. The second user interface can be controlled through control signals transmitted by the first user interface.

The patent also claims the overlaying of the augmented reality user interface on the first user interface in a way that the augmented reality control elements of the augmented reality user interface correspond to the first control elements of the first user interface or their positions. Additionally, the augmented reality control elements can also correspond to the second control elements of the second user interface. The augmented reality user interface can be updated based on real-time data tracking clinician movements, the location of the first user interface, or control signals from the first user interface.

The system described in the patent includes a dental machine with a display device for augmented visualization, a first user interface with a footswitch, and a second user interface with physical or graphical elements for interaction. The system also includes at least one processor configured to perform the method described in the patent. Furthermore, the system may include a tracking system that provides real-time position data for precise location and orientation of objects in a common coordinate system. The tracking system can be sensor-based and/or vision-based. The second user interface may include action items, software applications, videos, and/or images as control elements.

In conclusion, this granted patent introduces a computer-implemented method and system for utilizing augmented visualization to control dental machines. The method and system provide an augmented reality user interface that can be overlaid on the first user interface, allowing for intuitive control of the dental machine. The system may also include a tracking system for precise object positioning and orientation. This technology has the potential to enhance the efficiency and accuracy of dental procedures.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.