Apr 9, 2018 | By David

The latest development in the field of 3D scanning technology could contribute towards the future of healthcare in a significant way. The breakthrough will be achieved by researchers in New Zealand, who are in the process of building a scanner specifically designed for bio-imaging. In a joint initiative known as the MARS programme, a team of researchers are developing a spectral molecular scanner capable that is capable of producing color images of objects inside the body, including bones and soft tissues.

(credit: University of Canterbury) 

"This spectral molecular imaging technology really is the next big medical imaging innovation, and these 3D images will provide clinicians with information that is currently not possible in CT, MRI or PET scans," said Professor Anthony Butler of the University of Canterbury. "The capability of this scanner will enable greater diagnosis and monitoring of many diseases, and will lead to better outcomes for patients – particularly in stroke prevention, joint replacement and cancer management."

The University of Canterbury is collaborating with the University of Otago on the project, alongside the technology company MARS Bio-Imaging. Otago University’s Christchurch campus was the site of initial proof-of-concept trials for the 3D scanner, which was primarily developed by Canterbury researchers. Founded in 2007, MARS Bio-Imaging has already established a reputation for itself in the 3D scanning world, and it will be in charge of marketing and selling the new MARS scanners.

 (credit: Fabtek)

The 3D scanner is similar to a standard x-ray based CT system in many ways, but offers hugely improved spatial resolution as well as color imaging. MARS has described the move from black-and-white to color 3D scanning as comparable to the shift from black-and-white to color photography, in terms of importance.

The scanner makes use of two Medpix3 detectors, which are bonded to high-Z sensors at 110 micron pitch with 8 energy bins per pixel and 2 ms frame readout. These are able to distinguish both density and atomic variation in a sample. The density determines the brightness of the image and the atomic structure (the fundamental materials of which the sample is made) determines the colour. The x-ray source for the scanner is 1a 20 kVp, 350 μA x-ray source with helical scan mode.

The project was supported by a $12 million grant from New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and it was awarded gold status for research excellence. The MedTech Centre of Research Excellence was also involved with development, and technology giant GE Healthcare provided a high-end CT scanner for use in the initial research phases.

(source: CERN) 

The implementation of the new MARS 3D scanner should revolutionize surgical procedures and medical diagnostics, offering high-resolution scans much faster and with a much lower dose of radiation than comparable systems. There are also potential applications in other industries such as border security, forestry, agriculture and mining.

According to Butler’s father and fellow Canterbury professor, MARS Bio-Imaging chief executive Phil Butler, the lead times are expected to be long for medical technology, but they are worth the wait. When the MARS 3D scanners eventually hit the market, they are expected to add more than $50 million per year to the New Zealand economy.



Posted in 3D Scanning

Source: NZherald


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