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.
The color X-ray technology comes from a company from New Zealand called Mars Bioimaging that managed to do it thanks to a CERN-made chip named Medipix3. The technology has been dubbed ‘Spectral CT’.
The chip works much like a digital camera sensor but it manages to detect and also count the particles that hit each pixel when a shutter opens.
Credit: Mars Bioimaging
It still functions in the same way a traditional X-ray does but it can produce more detailed results. Because the chip is enhanced with custom data-processing algorithms, as the x-rays pass through the different materials that make a body, it is able to detect the change in wavelengths.
Because of that, it can tell apart bones, muscles, fat or liquids. The additional software enables it to produce color images which give us a good three-dimensional look inside the body.
The device has even been put to the test in diagnosing bone and joint health as well as spot cancer, and the results had come out promising.
For now, it will still be years before the Spectral CT will be clear for use in the medical field but clinical trials are expected to start in the next few months in New Zealand.