Today’s Solutions: January 28, 2022

For someone to confirm their suspicion of an injury-related broken bone, they have to be X-rayed by a trained physician at a hospital. Soon, however, it may be possible for them to do it themselves, thanks to a portable X-ray device that could be located virtually anywhere.

Designed by scientists at the Finland’s University of Oulu, the prototype compact X-ray machine measures just 50 by 50 by 130 cm (19.7 by 19.7 by 51.2 in). That’s significantly smaller than bulky conventional X-ray systems.

On top of that, because it features a built-in radiation shield, the system doesn’t have to be kept in a lead-lined room, nor does it have to be operated from a separate room. It has a video screen that guides patients through the process, showing them how to X-ray their injured area, and notifies them if a break is detected.

The machine’s instructions are now set for X-raying bones in the palm and ankle, but the plan is to add more regions as the system is developed further.

The aim is for the relatively affordable machines to be set up at strategic locations such as ski resorts or medical clinics, where patients could self-check their injuries to see if a bone was broken or not. This could take the load off larger, pricier, more sophisticated X-ray systems, increasing their availability for more important tasks.

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