One of the fundamental changes that digital technology has produced is so subtle we often don’t even acknowledge it yet it is so substantial that it has altered everything.
Once the basic capacity is in place a digital device can do many many that is to say many tasks. The most obvious example is a modern cell phone.
A typical cell phone has both a still camera and a video camera, plus it is an answering machine, an e-mail device not to mention text messages and photo sharing, a social media connection and a web browser. It is a calculator, a pocket watch, a flashlight, an alarm clock and a stop watch. It is a calendar an e-reader, a GPS, a map and a gaming device. You get the idea. The actual phone function of any new smart phone is almost an afterthought.
Just a few years ago all those devices (if they existed at all) would have been separate purpose built expensive machines. Now we get them as part of our cell phone at essentially no cost with thousands of other options available at the App store.
Currently there are numerous medical devices that plug into a smart phone that are being marketed to physicians. A dental ultrasonic diagnostic device called S-Ray is under development that would attach to a smart phone and could produce a digital impression as well as diagnose periodontal pockets and interproximal decay.
Why not? Today’s smart phone has far more computing power than the old desktops we first plugged x-ray sensors into back in the 90s. And a smart phone is connected to the world so data can easily be sent to the cloud for storage or analysis. And of course a smart phone is far less expensive than a purpose built digital impression box and you can use the phone for all the other things mentioned above.