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Planmeca challenges hackers to reshape the future of dental care

As part of Junction 2017, hackers from around the world teamed up to help reshape the future of dental care. (Photograph: Planmeca/Junction)

Wed. 17. January 2018

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ESPOO, Finland: Junction is Europe’s largest hackathon. With competitors from across the world, the non-profit, student-led event brings together some of the smartest computer minds to help redesign the future. More than 1,500 hackers attended Junction 2017, and Planmeca was the competition’s health technology partner—setting the hackers the challenge of “Reshaping the future of dental care”.

The word “hacking” has both a positive and a negative connotation. In the case of Junction, it focuses on the positive. The competition runs for 48 hours and participants can choose from a variety of challenges across a range of fields and industries. Challenges are set by different partners of the event, and teams set out to come up with smart technological solutions —in some cases completely reinventing the wheel. At the end of the event, designs are presented to a jury from each industry and a winner is chosen.

The challenge set by Planmeca was broken down into two parts: how to improve the patient experience and make it more effortless, and how to use virtual patient data so that dental care professionals can better plan and prepare for treatments.

According to Planmeca, it was impressive to see so much enthusiasm, competence and effort demonstrated by the 13 teams that took up its challenge and nominating a winner was not easy. “It was a tough choice! There were some really great ideas and demos, and we were truly astonished by the know-how and skills the participants showed during the event,” said Sakari Kettunen, Planmeca’s Product Development Manager and member of the Planmeca Junction jury.

The winning duo developed a creative mobile application that uses Planmeca’s 3-D imaging data in real time, fitting it on a patient’s face according to changes made from a laptop. The creators of the app, Samuel Laska from Slovakia and Linda Ukkonen from Finland, received €5,000 in prize money.

“I graduated recently as an industrial designer and I’m really interested in 3D modelling and design, which is why I really wanted to take part in Planmeca’s challenge. I actually originally teamed up with other people at the beginning of the event, but they wanted to do another challenge, so we divided from that team. And it paid off!” said Ukkonen.

“With this kind of mobile application doctors can communicate with patients in real-time, also remotely. It’s a great way to visualise procedures and their outcomes for example. We chose the winner based on the application’s great potential and technological execution,” said Kettunen.

Antti Haanpää, Planmeca’s Digital Business Solution Manager, who was also a member of the jury said: “Events like these are such a great chance to meet young, smart, ambitious people who want to create something new and unseen. We wanted the participants to embrace Planmeca’s mission to improve patient care through technology but throw away all limitations and think outside the box while doing that. We were looking for creativity, disruptiveness and feasibility and that’s exactly what we got.”

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