Thursday, January 20, 2022

Woobamboo Announces Toothbrush Heads for Sonicare Toothbrushes

 


The world is going more and more to goods with sustainability.  I find it pretty amazing how many companies are figuring out how and then creating goods that for decades have been non-recyclable, now sustainable.

Take the ever popular toothbrush.  Everyone needs one and we tend to go through several every year.  That simple fact is amazing.  I mean, toothbrushes are incredibly important to, not only oral health, but overall health in general.  The mouth is connected to the body, after all, and oral health problems can have system wide effects.

The problem is all of that plastic.   Toothbrushes are not easily recyclable... at least not until Woobamboo came along.  The company has been selling toothbrushes and floss that are recyclable for a while now.  They make the handles out of bamboo, which grows quickly and breaks down easily.  It's a great idea.

Now, the company is bringing to market a brush for Sonicare powered toothbrushes.  Powered brushes are becoming more and more popular which means they are becoming major players in the toothbrush industry.  As more people move away from manual brushes, there becomes a market for sustainable sonic brush heads.

There is a nice write up on the product over at my writing home Dental Products Report and I highly suggest you give it a read.  Then, head over to Woobamboo and give their sustainable brushes a try!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Academy of General Dentistry Announces Total of Donations to Fight Oral & Pharyngeal Cancer

 


As a dentist, one of the diseases that I am passionate about is the fight against oral & pharyngeal cancer.  It is a horrible disease that often leaves victims scarred and or disfigured after treatment.  Usually that is because the disease is not detected in its earliest stages when it can be more conservatively treated.

As an example, rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen had a portion of his tongue removed in the early 2000s due to cancer.  It was caught early and many people where not aware of the surgery.  Unfortunately that frequently is not the case.

One of the many sad things about this disease is that around 36,000 U.S. residents will be diagnosed with a form of it this year.  The other incredible statistic is that roughly one person every hour dies of the disease.  Oral & pharyngeal cancer kills more Americans than cervical cancer every year.

There is also the fact that the disease is striking younger people much more frequently.  The human papilloma virus 16 (HPV 16), the same virus that causes cervical cancer is affecting both genders and at a much younger age.  People in their 20s are now being told they have cancer which is a tragedy.  

Because of all of these things, I try and screen the best I can when doing patient examinations.  Anything that I can o to prevent someone from enduring the brunt of this disease is time well spent as far as I am concerned.  

That's why I was happy to read about the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) raising funds to help battle the disease.  Here is the info I recently received:

The AGD Foundation is excited to announce that thanks to the support of generous members and corporations, they raised over $192,310 in 2021, which includes over $85,130 from the Annual Appeal campaign alone.

 Your support makes the following initiatives possible:

Developing easily accessible oral and oropharyngeal cancer resources for dentists, physicians, and more.

Hosting free annual oral cancer screening events.

Expanding our grant program, which financially supports AGD constituencies and other organizations’ oral/oropharyngeal cancer awareness and early detection programs.

 Thank you for showing, yet again, that our profession can make a difference in the fight against oral and oropharyngeal cancer. You inspire us everyday. 

 Sincerely,

The AGD Foundation Board of Directors

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

MouthWatch Announces Special One Time Pricing until Thursday January 20th


I've been a fan of MouthWatch intraoral cameras ever since they came on the market a few years ago.  The company has even managed to make my annual Top 5 Test Drive article twice.


They sell an amazingly good intraoral camera for an incredibly reasonable price.  Before MouthWatch, I was paying around $3500 for intraoral cameras.  That's not a small amount when you factor in that my office has 7 operatories.

MouthWatch cameras can be purchased for $299 and the price drops if you buy 2 or more at once.  These cameras provide incredible images AND they don't crush your budget.  In fact, I actually keep some cameras in stock in case something goes wrong with one.  I would have never tied up $3500 for a "just in case" scenario for a camera.  However, with MouthWatch I can easily keep 2 or 3 cameras in my inventory in case one of the 7 in use has a problem.

Now the company has announced that until Thursday January 20th you can take an additional $150 off orders of $1000 or more.  There is no discount code or anything special to do.  Simply go to the webpage and place your order.

I'm a big believer in MouthWatch.  We use them everyday and they are critical to our standard operating procedures.  If you are looking for a great intraoral camera, give them a try!

Here is the link for you to find out more...  

Monday, January 17, 2022

FDA Warns of Higher Risk of Dental Problems from Use of Buprenorphine a Drug Used for Opioid Addiction

 


One of the biggest problems with addiction to opioids and opiates, is the simple fact that once the body is used to a regular supply of the chemicals in this family, the body rebels when those chemicals are not available.  The common term for that condition is withdrawal and depending on the drug being used and the amount of time it has been used for, withdrawal can be uncomfortable on the low end and intolerable on the other.

That little fact is one of the biggest reasons people stay addicted.  Simply stated, even those individuals who want to stop cannot tolerate the pain and other symptoms that are part of withdrawal.  I am no expert on addiction or withdrawal, but I did learn a bit about the situation in my undergraduate studies in psychology and I know that the high end of withdrawal can be excruciating.  That means for many people dependent on the drugs, alleviating the pain of withdrawal with an intake of opioids is a much better solution than suffering.

The agony of withdrawal is what keeps many continuing the path of drug abuse.

In 2002, a drug was approved by the FDA to help with this pain.  It is called buprenorphine and when taken it can greatly curve the pain and cravings that come with addiction.  It has helped countless numbers of individuals to get their lives back and for many people it has helped provide a path out of the hell that is addiction.

Now comes word that some forms of buprenorphine can cause dental problems which are sometimes severe.  There are multiple forms of the medication, but the problems stem from tablets and films that are placed in the mouth under the tongue and dissolve, thereby delivering the medication through absorption through the sublingual route.

Buprenorphine can also be delivered by injection and transdermal patches.  Both of those types are not related to dental problems.

If you are a patient using one of the dental related products, make sure to make an appointment with your provider and explain your situation to them.  Dentists are more than happy to help folks in recovery.

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Interesting Information on the Spread of the Omicron Variant

 As most of us now know, the Omicron variant is much more infectious than other forms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.  We've seen it rapidly spread from its early detection in South Africa across the globe in a matter of weeks.

I remember reading about it when it first appeared.  There was some initial speculation (not a lot was known about it in the very beginning of its detection) that it was more easily spread than other variants.  I thought "if that's the case, sealing countries off from South Africa won't help because it will have already spread".  That was clearly the case.  Omicron spread like no other variant and has created a virtual tsunami of infections around the world.

Now comes science to tell us just *how* much this one has spread.  A study found on MedRxiv states the following:  These findings strongly suggest that Omicron has a much higher rate of asymptomatic carriage than other VOC and this high prevalence of asymptomatic infection is likely a major factor in the widespread, rapid dissemination of the variant globally, even among populations with high prior rates of SARS-COV-2 infection.

That study found that asymptomatic spread of Beta and Delta variants was about 2.6% while Omicron comes in at 16%.  That is a huge increase of carriage!  

It definitely pays to mask up and if possible, upgrade your everyday mask wear to a N-95 grade.  While nothing is 100% effective, with the amount of spread before the onset of symptoms you could be walking through a veritable "cloud" of virus particles from people who at that moment feel perfectly fine, but are shedding virus like crazy.

For the page containing this study, here is the link.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

MouthWatch Announces Four Winners of its 2021 “Teledentistry Innovation Awards”

 


MouthWatch, LLC a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions and digital imaging devices, recently honored four pioneering teledentistry practitioners and programs  by naming them as winners of the fifth annual Teledentistry Innovation Awards, affectionately known as the “Tellies”. 

According to MouthWatch, LLC CEO and founder Brant Herman, “During the past year of recovery, we’ve seen a tremendous uptick in teledentistry innovation and adoption. Each of this year’s Tellie winners represent diverse types of teledentistry programs, but all are focused on improving access to care and patient outcomes.”   

The purpose of the Tellie Awards is two-fold:

Recognize individual, forward-thinking dental providers who improving the state of oral and systemic health across the nation by actively using teledentistry.

Highlight the many ways that teledentistry is being successfully implemented across a broad spectrum of dental care including public health, private practice, and organizational settings. 

The 2021 Teledentistry Innovation Awards winners were named in the following categories: Dental Education, Dentist/Specialist, Dental Hygiene, and Oral Health Program (non-profit or business). Here are the four Tellie Awards winners:  

Winner Name and Organization: Dr. Shibani Sahni / Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Award Category: Dental Education  

During the COVID pandemic, The Harvard School of Dental Medicine experienced a disruption in the treatment it provided to special needs school children and its on-site student curriculum. During the downtime, HSDM launched a teledentistry pilot program to establish continuity to its special need’s dental care program and to also expand the teaching modality for its students. The pilot was successful on both fronts and is in the process of being expanded. 

 Winner Name and Organization: Dr. Kwame Watson/Kare Mobile, Founder / Kare Mobile 

Award Category: Dentist/Specialist

Dr. Watson pioneered the use of teledentistry to make mobile concierge dentistry more efficient, productive, and profitable. For four years Kare Mobile has been providing residents of the Louisville, KY area with patient centered, comprehensive mobile dentistry. In recent years, Kare Mobile has been expanding by offering mobile dentistry franchises across the county by establishing itself as the only Dental Support Organization (DSO) dedicated to mobile, concierge dentistry. The company gives back via its Non-Profit program, “On-Demand Kare'' which provides grants to providers who agree to serve in underserved communities and also funds treatment for uninsured procedures required by those experiencing financial hardship.

Winner Name and Organization: Michelle Vacha, RDH, BS /Community Dental Health 

Award Category: Dental Hygiene

Michelle founded Community Dental Health (CDH) to increase access to care to underserved populations by sending hygienists into schools, nursing homes and rural communities in Colorado and to connect oral healthcare to overall healthcare. CDH hygienists perform exams using intraoral photos and x-rays and share with a dentist via teledentistry to provide the patient with a diagnosis and treatment plan. Currently CDH employs four hygienists, four dentists and several dental assistants, denture technicians, and supporting administrative staff. This teledentistry-powered program provides $1.5-million worth of oral care services each year. 

Winner Name and Organization: Yogita Thakur, Chief Dental Officer /Ravenswood Dental Health Center

Award Category: Oral Health Program (non-profit of business) 

In a 2012, a grant from San Mateo F5 and a partnership with The Arthur A. Dugoni Pacific School of Dentistry enabled Ravenswood Dental Health Center to pilot a teledentistry program called Virtual Dental Home. The program was based on the asynchronous (store and forward) principles of telehealth.

“We thank all the winners for participating in the 2021 Teledentistry Innovation Awards and for recognizing the full potential of teledentistry," said Herman. 

To watch interviews of all of this year’s Teledentistry Innovation Awards, visit http://mwtch.co/2021.  Nominations for next year’s Tellie Awards are currently being accepted online at http://teledentistryinnovationawards.com. Self-nominations are welcome.

About MouthWatch, LLC:  

Headquartered in Metuchen, New Jersey, MouthWatch, LLC is a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices. The company is dedicated to finding new ways to constantly improve the dental health experience for both patient and provider.

In recent years, the company received the following significant awards and accolades: The 2020 and 2021 Cellerant Best of Class Award  for TeleDent™, the provider-focused, patient-friendly teledentistry platform. In 2021, TeleDent also won Dentistry Today’s  Top 100 Products, Reader’s Choice Top 25, and Top Aesthetic and Restorative Products awards. The MouthWatch Intraoral Camera won Dentaltown Magazine’s Dental Townie Choice Award™ in 2021 and 2021 as well as Dentistry Today Magazine’s Top 100 Products Award in 2020. 

What’s more, the company’s latest product, The MouthWatch Plus+ HD intraoral camera, introduced in September of 2021, has already won a Dental Products Report Top 5 Editor’s Choice Award and  a Dentistry Today Reader’s Choice Top 25 Innovative Products Award. 

The company was also included in the 2020 and 2021 Inc. 5000 list of the Fastest Growing Privately Held Companies as well as The Financial Times Americas’ Fastest-Growing Companies 2021 List and The 2021 Inc. Best in Business List. 

For more information, visit www.MouthWatch.com.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Dr. Jeff Dalin to Receive ADA 2022 Humanitarian Award



Let's give some credit to where credit is due.  Early in my "second career" of teaching, testing, writing, etc I met an incredibly nice guy from St. Louis named Jeff Dalin.  A fellow dentist, I met Jeff at a meeting where someone introduced us thinking that two Midwestern guys would probably get along well.

Back then, Dr. Dalin had recently launched an idea for helping children in need of dental care.  He called the program "Give Kids a Smile".   It was founded on the idea of taking one day out of the year and using that day to treat as many children as possible, free of charge.

That idea was quickly picked up by the American Dental Association and soon, with their backing, GKAS became a national day in dental offices to help kids whose families could not normally afford dental care.

I'm proud to say the Dr. Dalin's idea pretty much exploded across the country as offices joined in.  In the Kansas City area the local dental association coordinated care in large offices where many of us would go to screen, triage, and then treat these kids so desperately in need of care.  

I have no idea how much free dentistry has been provided by GKAS, but I'm sure it is now, after 20 years, multiple millions of dollars.  And when you think of it, many of those kids from the early days of the program are now old enough to have kids of their own.

So hats off to my friend Dr. Jeff Dalin.  What started out as just an idea in his noggin has now changed to lives of countless children AND adults.  He's a great humanitarian and a giver.  I can think of no one more deserving of the ADA 2022 Humanitarian Award.  Congratulations my friend... you have changed the world and helped make it a better place of tens of thousands of people.

Monday, January 10, 2022

3Shape Files US Patent Infringement Complaint Against Carestream Dental Related to Wireless Scanning, Shade Measurement, and Wand Functionality

Not long ago, an announcement was made by Carestream Dental, LLC of their intent to sell their 3D scanning/acquisition technology to Envista.  Now comes word that a competitor in the market, 3Shape has filed for patent infringement.  I have no idea how this will impact the impending sale to Envista, but this situation for sure is going to be followed closely...

Here are the details from a press release by 3Shape:


 3Shape A/S today announced that it has filed a complaint against Carestream Dental LLC, asserting that Carestream intraoral scanners infringe 3Shape patents related to wireless scanning, tooth color shade measurement, and the use of the handheld scanner wand as a remote control.

3Shape has filed the complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. The complaint seeks monetary damages as well as injunctive relief.

Regarding the infringement complaint, Thomas Kirkbak, Head of Litigation & Compliance at 3Shape said, “3Shape TRIOS has received the Best of Class award for intraoral scanners an unprecedented nine years in a row. Our innovation and scanner technology are unique and fundamental to why we are the choice of doctors. We simply cannot allow competitors to copy our hard-earned technology and infringe on our patents.”

3Shape asserts that certain Carestream intraoral scanner models, including the CS 3700 and CS 3800, infringe a 3Shape patent relating to tooth color shade measurement and that the CS 3800 infringes all three asserted patents, including a 3Shape patent covering wireless scanning technology.

The patents in question are 3Shape U.S. Patent No. RE48,221, U.S. Patent No. 10,695,151 and U.S. Patent No. 11,076,146.

About 3Shape

3Shape is changing dentistry together with dental professionals across the world by developing innovations that provide superior dental care for patients. We partner with industry leaders to give dental professionals open choices for their patient care as well as supporting professionals’ continued education. 3Shape’s solution portfolio includes the multiple award-winning 3Shape TRIOS® intraoral scanner and dental lab scanners, design services, and market-leading scanning and design software solutions for both dental practices and labs.

Our 1900 employees serve customers in over 100 countries from 3Shape offices around the world. 3Shape’s products

and innovations continue to challenge traditional methods, enabling dental professionals to treat more patients more effectively. www.3shape.com


Thursday, January 6, 2022

Mouthwatch Continues Impressive Run of Industry Awards

 



 – During a challenging year for the dental industry, MouthWatch, LLC, garnered an impressive set of awards and accolades. “We’re extremely grateful to have been recognized with an abundance of honors during this unpredictable time,” said Brant Herman, MouthWatch founder and CEO. “What’s especially exciting is that we were recognized by several of these awards two years in a row.”  Here’s a brief rundown of MouthWatch’s 2021 achievements:


Corporate Recognition

The 2021 Annual Inc. 5000 List:  For the second consecutive year, MouthWatch was ranked among the nation’s 5000 fastest-growing private companies. 

The Financial Times Americas’ Fastest-Growing Companies 2021 List:  MouthWatch was one of 500 companies selected from millions of companies located in North and South America.

The 2021 Inc. Best in Business List: This award recognizes small-and medium-sized privately held American businesses that have had an outstanding influence on their communities, their industries, the environment, or society as a whole. 


Industry Grants and Funding

During 2021, MouthWatch expanded upon its ongoing commitment to improve access to oral healthcare and the future of dental education. Some examples of this commitment include:

The MouthWatch Mobile Accelerator Award recognized and provided a donation of hardware and software and industry memberships to 5 innovative mobile dentistry programs that suffered financial setbacks during the pandemic.

Dentist and Hygienist Scholarships: In partnership with American Dental Education Association (ADEA), MouthWatch awarded scholarships to a dental school student and a hygiene school student whose essays expressed a forward-thinking approach to oral health. 


TeleDent™ Teledentistry Platform Product Awards

The Cellerant Best of Class Technology Award:  This repeat award was decided by an unbiased panel of the dental industry’s most respected technology thought leaders. 

Dentistry Today Magazine’s Top 100 Products, Reader’s Choice and Top Aesthetic and Restorative Products:  All of these honors are determined by the high amount of product interest demonstrated by the magazine’s readers. TeleDent earned the Top Innovative Products and Reader’s Choice Top 25 Awards for two years running. 

MouthWatch Intraoral Camera Product Awards

Dentaltown Magazine’s 2021 Dental Townie Choice Award®:  What makes this award especially significant is that the MouthWatch Intraoral Camera was the first product in the history of this award to win by a 100% write-in ballot in 2020 and 2021. 

MouthWatch Plus+ HD Intraoral Camera Awards 

Although introduced late in the year, this affordable, true 1080p HD intraoral camera has already received positive recognition:

Dental Products Report Top 5 Editor’s Choice Award – Decided by the DPR editorial team after reviewing products introduced during 2021.

Dentistry Today Reader’s Choice Top 50 Technology Products Award – Based on Dentistry Today reader inquiries. 

For more information about MouthWatch and its innovative teledentistry and digital imaging solutions, visit www.MouthWatch.com.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Here We Go Again - A New Variant of SARS-CoV-2 Identified in France

A very short post today because all of the info is in the link... 

A new SARS-CoV-2 variant has shown up in France.  This virus continues to mutate in a way that would probably fascinate Charles Darwin.

The new variant is so new, as of this post it still does not have a name.  It is currently being referred to as "IHU".  The MedRxiv website has information that has been gleaned by analyzing this new variant.  Their paper on this is titled:

Emergence in Southern France of a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of probably Cameroonian origin harbouring both substitutions N501Y and E484K in the spike protein

Update

The good news on this one is that it does not seem to be spreading very rapidly.  Since publishing this post I came across an article from the New York Times that downplays the potential for this one...  


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Report details 20 years of advances and challenges of Americans’ oral health

One of the things that makes our world function in the "semi-functional"state it is in is statistics.  If properly recorded and properly analyzed, stats can provide incredible insights into our lives and the things that affect it.  NIH (National Institute's of Health) have aggregated some pretty amazing data over the last 20 years about dental health in the United States.  This is "big data".  The kind that people use to create policy and to determine where more time and treasure needs to be targeted and where it can also be dialed back.  I think this kind of info is fascinating as it provides a very well defined picture of a part of our world.  Here is the press release from NIH detailing the report:


Despite important advances in the understanding and treatment of oral diseases and conditions, many people in the U.S. still have chronic oral health problems and lack of access to care, according to a report by the National Institutes of Health. Oral Health in America: Advances and Challenges, is a follow-up to the seminal 2000 Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General. The new report, which is intended to provide a road map on how to improve the nation’s oral health, draws primarily on information from public research and evidence-based practices and was compiled and reviewed by NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) and a large, diverse, multi-disciplinary team of more than 400 experts.

The report updates the findings of the 2000 publication and highlights the national importance of oral health and its relationship to overall health. It also focuses on new scientific and technological knowledge – as well as innovations in health care delivery – that offer promising new directions for improving oral health care and creating greater equity in oral health across communities. Achieving that equity is an ongoing challenge for many who struggle to obtain dental insurance and access to affordable care.

“This is a very significant report,” said NIH Acting Director Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., Ph.D. “It is the most comprehensive assessment of oral health currently available in the United States and it shows, unequivocally, that oral health plays a central role in overall health. Yet millions of Americans still do not have access to routine and preventative oral care.”

The newly issued report provides a comprehensive snapshot of oral health in America, including an examination of oral health across the lifespan and a look at the impact the issue has on communities and the economy. 

Major take-aways from the report include:

Healthy behaviors can improve and maintain an individual’s oral health, but these behaviors are also shaped by social and economic conditions.

Oral and medical conditions often share common risk factors, and just as medical conditions and their treatments can influence oral health, so can oral conditions and their treatments affect other health issues.

Substance misuse and mental health conditions negatively affect the oral health of many.

Group disparities around oral health, identified 20 years ago, have not been adequately addressed, and greater efforts are needed to tackle both the social and commercial determinants that create these inequities and the systemic biases that perpetuate them.

“This is an in-depth review of the scientific knowledge surrounding oral health that has accumulated over the last two decades,” said Rena D’Souza D.D.S., Ph.D., director of NIDCR, which oversaw and funded the project’s three-year research program. “It provides an important window into how many societal factors intersect to create advantages and disadvantages with respect to oral health, and, critically, overall health.”

The COVID-19 pandemic emerged while the report was being written. The science around SARS-CoV-2 continues to come into focus in real-time, and, although data were only starting to surface about the oral implications of the disease, the authors included a preliminary analysis of it to assess initial impacts.

The authors make several recommendations to improve oral health in America, which include the need for health care professionals to work together to provide integrated oral, medical, and behavioral health care in schools, community health centers, nursing homes, and medical care settings, as well as dental clinics. They also identify the need to improve access to care by developing a more diverse oral health care workforce, addressing the rising cost of dental education, expanding insurance coverage, and improving the overall affordability of care.

“Although there are challenges ahead, the report gives us a starting point and some clear goals that offer reasons to be hopeful, despite those challenges,” added D’Souza. “It imagines a future, as I do, in which systemic inequities that affect oral health and access to care are more fully addressed, and one in which dental and medical professionals work together to provide integrated care for all.”

Scientists and public health professionals will use the report to identify areas of scientific inquiry and research as well as develop and implement programs that ultimately will improve the oral health of individuals, communities, and the nation.

To view or download the report, please visit the NIDCR website at https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealthinamerica.


Monday, January 3, 2022

My Newest Holiday Toy - The DJI Mavic 3 Drone





If the above video is not formatting correctly, you can view it on YouTube via this link


As a diehard tech guy, I've been flying drones for over a decade.  The drone ecosystem has been an amazing thing to be a part of.  My first drone was purchased as a "kit".  It was basically an airframe that I had to assemble and then get synchronized.  It was an incredible experience for a DIY personality like mine, but the hexacopter (six rotor blades) was at about 200 feet on a flight when one of the blades came off and it cork-screwed all the way to the ground as I screamed encouragement at the airframe on its way back to Earth.  That was an expensive little event.

Now, things are vastly different in the world of personal helicopters.  My latest toy is the DJI Mavic 3 and I've been having fun with it since I opened the box on Christmas Eve.

I would venture to say that in the world of personal drones, DJI is the industry leader.  I say that based on the number of DJI systems that are flying worldwide.  This post is not to convince anyone of their superiority, simply that a bunch of them are flying while you are reading this.

The company has done a tremendous job of simplifying the concept of flying your own little quadcopter.  In fact the Mavic 3 is so easy to use that I would venture a guess that even an inexperienced but determined user could probably watch one demonstration/teaching video and get one in the air.  

The Mavic line in general have really simplified things.  You do not even need to attach the props any more.  The rotor arms are designed to fold into the body and the props also fold so that the entire device becomes as easy one handed carry.

What that means to the user is to prepare the device for flight, all you have to do is unfold the arms and turn it on... it's truly that simple.

The craft utilizes tons of tech to make all of its features run properly.  Things like GPS, object avoidance, and even communication (constant) between the copter and the remote controller.

What if you don't know how to fly a drone?  What if you crash it?  Well, flying it is pretty simple if you can control 2 joysticks and as far as crashing?  Well, the device has sensors that are constantly on the lookout for objects you could collide with and it will not only warn you, it will actually navigate around them.  

Take off and landing are simple.  Once the drone and controller are powered on and find one another, you push the take off icon and the copter will leave the ground and then hover 1.2m above the ground.  Once the copter reaches this hover point, the pilot can then maneuver the craft wherever they would like.

To land, you basically repeat the takeoff procedure.  The copter is brought into roughly the geographic area where it took off.  During takeoff, the craft uses GPS to locate that takeoff point and the system remembers it.  To land, once you get "close" you tap the "return to home" icon on the screen or the same button on the remote controller and the device will fly over the launch point and then descend.  When it reaches the ground, it turns the rotors off.

For all intents and purposes, the hard parts of flight, takeoff and landing, are automated and happen when you tell the system to perform that function.

The drone also sports a phenomenal Hasselblad camera system.  If you are into cameras, you'll know the name Hasselblad, but if you aren't suffice it to say it is sort of the Ferrari of camera companies.  The camera shoots 5.1k video by utilizing a 4/3 CMOS sensor.  Still photos are effectively taken at 20MP resolution.  To put that in perspective, I've taken a few still photos and they are in the 15.1Mb range for file size.  That makes the pictures about as clear as anything you can imagine.

For those of you new to the idea of personal drones, I'm sure questions abound.  The one question I'm asked the most is "what if you lose sight of the drone or it loses contact with the remote control?"  

That's a great question.  I mentioned above the function called "Return To Home" (abbreviated RTH).  IF you lose orientation and cannot figure out how to get the drone back to you, pressing RTH initiates the "come back" feature.  The same thing happens if the device somehow loses contact with the remote.  In both of those instances, the drone will remember where its takeoff point was and will fly back to it and land.  What if there is a tree in the way, you ask?  The object avoidance system will navigate the drone *around any obstacles* and then continue on its way to the home point.  

If that sounds incredible, that's because it is.  However it does just that.

There is a lot more to this system than the few things I've mentioned here.  If you have greater interest, simply go to Google and type in "Mavic 3" or just follow this link.  What you will find out there are phenomenal articles with tons more detail than I can provide here.

I don't have a desire to become an actual pilot... however, flying has always held a certain fascination for me.  Flying drones has allowed me to see and do things I could not do otherwise.  If you've ever thought about getting into it, there is no better time than now.  I'm confident that the field and the technologies powering it will only continue to improve, but the industry is *way past* the point that owning & flying a device is risky.  It's actually almost too easy when I look back on my early days...