Three-dimensional imaging is a rapidly growing technology that has revealed insights in disparate fields of research, especially in medicine, forensics and archaeology. Recent advancements in this technology have also made an impact in the field of anthropology and odontology. A major benefit of this technology is that they offer effective methods of creating digital records that can aid in physical documentation and can be digitally stored for later assessment and research.

The aim of a current study, conducted by researchers from the National Forensic Sciences University, Gujarat, India, Sinhgad Dental College & Hospital, Pune, India, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is to evaluate the metric accuracy of 3D models generated using three different 3D acquisition techniques for performing metric analytical procedures.

Source: JW/CC BY-SA 3.0Source: JW/CC BY-SA 3.0

Twenty standard craniometric linear measurements (using both sliding and spreading calipers) were taken on two craniums and eight standard measurements were taken on two mandibles (using sliding calipers and a mandibulometer); these measurements were then replicated on 3D digital models.

Statistical analysis of the dataset using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and post hoc Bonferroni test suggested that the physical and virtual measurements were accurate, comparable and concordant (p greater than 0.05).

These findings open up numerous avenues for future study, especially in the fields of forensics and clinical studies. However, in order to overcome the limitations faced in using the digital method certain standardized protocols and guidelines must be established to record these data.

The research appears in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine.

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