Mini-CT scanner developed as a teaching tool

March 15, 2012
This is the DeskCAT Multi-slice CT scanner. Credit: Modus Medical Devices

Biophysics professors at Western University, in London, Canada, have developed a CT (Computed Tomography) scanner small enough to sit on a desk. Jerry Battista, Chair of the Department of Medical Biophysics at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Kevin Jordan of the London Regional Cancer Program at London Health Sciences Centre invented the DeskCAT Multi-slice CT Scanner as a novel and interactive way to teach CT imaging techniques to a wide range of students. DeskCAT is now being manufactured, and distributed to other universities by Modus Medical Devices in London, Ontario.

Clinical CT or CAT (Computed Axial tomography) scanners are large enough to handle a patient and occupy a large room. The donut-shaped rotates a narrow fan beam of x-rays around the region of the body to be visualized. The x-rays are then detected and analyzed by a computer to create detailed images of the body part in thin slices, which can be stacked together to form a three-dimensional (3D) image.

The DeskCAT scanner was invented out of educational necessity. "Teaching the basics of a CT scanner is very complicated. Usually you end up filling a board with equations, and students get lost," explains Battista. "It's hard to get access to a clinical scanner for a more practical explanation because of the heavy clinical workload. So basically, we miniaturized a to bring it into the classroom."

The video will load shortly
Biophysics professors at Western University have developed a CT scanner small enough to sit on a desk. Jerry Battista, Chair of the Department of Medical Biophysics at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry explains how the DeskCAT Multi-slice CT Scanner is a novel and interactive way to teach CT imaging techniques to a wide range of students. Credit: Western University

Rather than using x-rays, the DeskCAT educational scanner uses visible light rays to form multiple views of a transparent specimen. The mathematical method of reconstructing the 3D picture of the specimen's interior from many views through the object, is identical to that used in the full-scale clinical x-ray system.

"The advantage of using light instead of x-rays for teaching is that the scanner can be brought into the classroom or laboratory without the hazards of x-ray exposure," adds Battista. "Another advantage is that students can 'see the light' passing through the specimen whereas x-rays are invisible to the human eye. This provides unique insight!"

Explore further: New method of using nanotube x-rays creates CT images faster than traditional scanners

More information: For more on DeskCAT, go to www.deskcat.com

Related Stories

Giant 256-slice CT scanner is tested

March 27, 2007

U.S. scientists at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have started a three-month safety and clinical test of a 256-slice computed tomography scanner.

CT scan for 50 million year old snake

September 13, 2010

Even some of the most advanced technology in medicine couldn't get Clarisse to give up all of her secrets. After all, she's kept them secret for more than 50 million years.

New scanner takes images inside and out

May 24, 2011

From fossilized brachiopods, fish lungs and iPhones to mouse hearts and habanero chilies, Cornell's micro-CT (computer tomography) scanner provides spectacular and colorful 3-D datasets from the inside out.

Seeing the effects of rock heterogeneity on CO2 movement

July 12, 2011

All three DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory X-ray CT scanners were recently used to characterize flow patterns during CO2 flooding of a sandstone sample from China. This work was part of a U.S.-China Energy Partnership ...

Recommended for you

Math reveals unseen worlds of Star Wars

February 10, 2016

Using a new computer program, EPFL researchers offer unusual insight into the universe of Star Wars, which includes more than 20,000 characters spread among 640 communities over a period of 36,000 years.

Twitter lets hot tweets rise to top of timelines

February 10, 2016

Twitter revamped its timeline Wednesday, allowing the "best" tweets to rise to the top, despite warnings of a revolt from members loyal to the real-time flow of the messaging platform.

Tiny diatoms boast enormous strength

February 8, 2016

Diatoms are single-celled algae organisms, around 30 to 100 millionths of a meter in diameter, that are ubiquitous throughout the oceans. These creatures are encased within a hard shell shaped like a wide, flattened cylinder—like ...

Battery technology could charge up water desalination

February 4, 2016

The technology that charges batteries for electronic devices could provide fresh water from salty seas, says a new study by University of Illinois engineers. Electricity running through a salt water-filled battery draws the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.