Medical

Portable X-ray device would let patients check their own bones

Portable X-ray device would le...
The prototype portable X-ray machine, with its designers Timo Liimatainen and Matti Hanni
The prototype portable X-ray machine, with its designers Timo Liimatainen and Matti Hanni
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The prototype portable X-ray machine, with its designers Timo Liimatainen and Matti Hanni
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The prototype portable X-ray machine, with its designers Timo Liimatainen and Matti Hanni
Users are guided by onscreen instructions
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Users are guided by onscreen instructions

Presently, if someone has been involved in a potentially bone-breaking mishap, they have to be X-rayed by trained staff at a hospital. Soon, however, it may be possible for them to perform their own X-rays, using a compact device that could be located just about anywhere.

Currently under development at Finland's University of Oulu, the prototype portable X-ray machine measures just 50 by 50 by 130 cm (19.7 by 19.7 by 51.2 in).

Not only is it much smaller than conventional X-ray systems, but because it incorporates built-in radiation shielding, it doesn't have to kept in a lead-lined room, nor does it have to be operated from a separate area. In fact, it utilizes a video screen to guide patients through the process, showing them how and where to place the injured appendage. It then automatically takes the X-rays, and tells the user if a break is detected.

Users are guided by onscreen instructions
Users are guided by onscreen instructions

Its instructions – and its imaging voltage – are currently set up for X-raying bones in the palm and ankle. More regions will be added as the system is developed further.

The idea behind the technology is that the relatively inexpensive machines could be set up at locations such as ski resorts or medical clinics, where patients could self-check their injuries to see if a bone was indeed broken. This would reduce the demands placed on larger, pricier, more sophisticated X-ray systems (and their operators), increasing their availability for more important tasks.

Source: University of Oulu

4 comments
paul314
If these things are not well supervised I foresee a lot of x-rays of interesting objects...
Kpar
This reminds me of the old fluoroscopes that used to be common in shoe stores.

They were removed for a reason.
Pablo
At least in the USA, there are limits on diagnostic exposure. There will need to be controls in place -within the operating software, to stop someone from accumulating excessive dose due to overuse. As another comment refers to the Adrian shoe store machines, this is a horse of a different color. No supervision existed then, there was very little shielding, and many were subjected to rough handling, resulting in overexposure to subjects and others nearby. I believe the practicality and cost of this machine will limit the prevalence and lifespan of these.
mediabeing
It's nice, but we need more than to be able to look at the bones.
Combined with this device should be a sonic bone density tester.
Those existed for a few decades.