Intra-Oral Dental Scanner

Human factors analysis of a dental scanner.

  • 3M
  • Video & paper prototyping


As an intern at 3M, I worked on a team to conduct a human factors analysis on a high-tech dental scanner. We focused on the user interface and looked at screen layout, image projection, and icon usage. The results, including prototypes, were compiled into a formal document and presented to the project team.


After using the scanner for a period of time, we noticed that the image on screen sometimes did not match what was expected. To better understand what was going on, we recorded the screen while using the scanner and replayed the video. Once the particular segment of interest was identified, we filmed the screen and manipulated the video to experiment with different methods of interaction. From there, we made recommendations to improve the user experience.


This project taught me the importance of immersing yourself in a product before jumping into solutions. Something that seems unnatural to the designer may be entirely natural for the target users. For example, dental scanners are used by dentists and dental assistants. Dentists use a mirror to look at teeth, so they are accustomed to viewing mirror images. An image that seems awkward to me could be the preferred view for a dentist. Learning to think like the user revealed a whole new set of design directions.