MARS Bioimaging Unveils a 3D X-ray Scanner

The MARS scanner produced this view of Phil Butler's ankle.                  MARS Bioimaging

The MARS scanner produced this view of Phil Butler's ankle. MARS Bioimaging

Recently there is a remarkable invention that has come in which the X-ray will unveil much more than just the bones inside you.

New Zealand researchers have performed for the first time a 3D, color X-ray on a human. Because of this innovative form of x-raying, the images produced are reliable with high contrast and high resolution making the technology ideal for use in the medical field. The dense material absorbs some of those rays and appears in white in the resulting image, while the remaining rays pass through softer tissues and muscles and appear as solid black.

Medipix is a family of read-out chips for particle imaging and detection.

The technology is being commercialised by New Zealand company MARS Bioimaging, linked to the universities of Otago and Canterbury which helped develop it.

The CERN technology, dubbed Medipix, works like a camera detecting and counting individual sub-atomic particles as they collide with pixels while its shutter is open. His ankle and wrist were imaged using new technology.

Medipix3 is the most advanced version of the chip.

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The device, as the release described, emitted beams of X-ray, but instead of the conventional way, it measured how the wavelength of the radiation changed after hitting different particles in your body such bone or a tissue.

Traditional X-ray scans have been black-and-white since their creation, the contrast helping doctors see issues like fractures in the bones, but now a new technology will enable us to see them in color, bringing the doctors a new tool that will help them spot other problems.

"This technology sets the machine apart diagnostically because its small pixels and accurate energy resolution mean that this new imaging tool is able to get images that no other imaging tool can achieve", Phil Butler said in a release.

MARS' solution couples the spectroscopic information generated by the Medipix3 enabled detector with powerful algorithms to generate 3D images.

Anthony mentioned that researchers are now using a smaller version of the MARS scanner to study cancer and other vascular diseases. Initial results from these studies suggested that MARS scanners will provide more accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment. In the case of the 3D scanner, a license agreement has been established between CERN, on behalf of Medipix3 collaboration and MARS Bioimaging Ltd.

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