A father and son tandem from New Zealand has introduced the first ever colored x-ray scanner adapted from technology used in finding the Higgs boson.
Phil (father) and Anthony (son) Butler from Canterbury and Otago Universities, dedicated full 10 years to build their 3D x-ray scanner. Finally, on July 10, they released the world's first x-rays of the very first human to have been scanned by the technology.
The machine called the MARS spectral x-ray scanner is expected to assist medical professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, as well as heart diseases through providing colored images that are much closer to what the human body looks like internally.
The MARS x-ray can show the fat, water, calcium, and other disease markers in the body parts that are being scanned.
In the next few months, the x-ray scanner will undergo its first clinical trial with orthopedic and rheumatology patients in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Colored X-Ray Technology
The first person to have been scanned using the breakthrough technology is no other than Phil himself. He scanned his ankle and wrist. The scan of his wrist was incredibly detailed, it even included the watch he was wearing.
The scan of his feet was equally précise as well and even showed the yellowish soft tissue in his sole.
"Traditional black-and-white x-rays only allow measurement of the density and shape of an object," said Anthony, highlighting MARS's advantage over the traditional x-ray machine.
Anthony mentioned that researchers are currently 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.
Phil and Anthony said they are currently developing a machine that can scan the whole body.
CERN Medipix3 Technology
The Butlers applied the Medipix3 technology used by the European Organization for Nuclear Research in the hunt for the "God particle" or the Higgs boson.
The Medipix chip was originally developed to help the Large Hadron Collider with its particle acceleration processes. Over the course of 20 years from the first time the chip was introduced, it has undergone different improvements.
In more recent years, the chip has been significant in other fields of sciences outside of the study of high-energy physics. In the case of the MARS scanner, the CERN Medipix3 chip sees its relevance in the medical field.
Medipix3 is the most advanced version of the chip. Philip said the technology sets the MARS scanner apart because it produces images no other x-ray machine tool can achieve.