By now most everyone is familiar with digital “stuff” like a digital photo, a digital x-ray or a digital song on an iPod. However all that “stuff” is so 2000s, what is new and even more exciting for the 2010 era is the technology to digitize a solid object. That is to make a highly accurate digital simulation of a real three dimensional thing; for example a tooth.
What does digital mean?
In the most literal sense to digitize something means to turn it into digits or numbers. In a more practical sense it means turning something into the electronic language a computer can understand.
Digital information can be many things including an actual tooth. Any object can be digitized by breaking it down into discrete bits of information. For instance, photographs in newspapers consist of an array of dots that are either black or white (a classic digital format). From a distance, the viewer does not see the dots, but only lines and shading, which appear to be continuous. Although digital representations are virtual approximations of actual objects, they are extremely useful because they are easy to control electronically.
Once an item is digitized there are three significant things you can do with it. You can store transmit and manipulate or enhance the information electronically.