Thanks to CERN, your next X-ray scan could be in full color

Your next X-ray could be a whole lot more colorful — and you’ve got Europe’s CERN physics lab and a New Zealand startup to thank for it.

The color X-ray technology, which could help improve the field of medical diagnostics, utilizes particle-tracking technology developed for CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. According to the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, it could be utilized to produce clearer, more accurate images compared to the traditional black-and-white X-rays hospital doctors have been using routinely since at least the 1930s. This should prove particularly valuable in diagnosing diseases, including cancer and heart disease, because it provides greater detail concerning the body’s chemical components.

The technology is now being commercialized in the form of a dedicated scanner by a New Zealand startup called Mars Bioimaging, which recently performed the world’s first ever color X-ray of human body parts — in this case, the ankle and wrist.

“Mars scanners use a detector that uses the color or energy information of the x-rays that traditional x-ray detectors don’t use,” Professor Phil Butler, a physicist working at New Zealand’s University of Canterbury who helped invent the Mars scanner, told Digital Trends. “This color or energy information from the x-ray, also known as spectral information, is used to distinguish different atoms or materials from each other, [such as] calcium from iodine. In addition, Mars scanners have a much smaller pixel size, meaning its possible to generate 1000x more information than existing CT systems for the same dose.”

Phil Butler co-developed the scanner with his son Anthony Butler, a radiologist and professor at the Universities of Canterbury and Otago. The technology is already available in the form of a small-bore scanner for carrying out medical research. The pair now plan to produce commercially available body part scanners for use on patients.

“There are wide applications for this technology,” Phil Butler continued. “We have already demonstrated using our small-bore system that it can be used for investigating composition of plaques that cause strokes, measuring the deterioration of cartilage, viewing bone-metal implant interfaces, and detecting small cancers in mice.”

Hopefully it won’t be long before this is a standard piece of equipment in hospitals everywhere.

Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Computing

Does the GTX 1660 Ti's leaner design make it a better GPU than the RTX 2060?

Nvidia's GTX 1660 Ti is a new Turing GPU without ray tracing or DLSS, but how does it compare to its RTX brethren? We pit the 1660 Ti versus the RTX 2060 to find out in this comparison.
Home Theater

The best Dolby Atmos movies for your home theater sound as good as they look

If you've got your hands on some sweet Dolby Atmos gear, the next step is to find films that take advantage of it. These are our picks in several genres for the best Dolby Atmos movies currently available on Blu-ray and streaming services.
Home Theater

If you've got questions about Ultra HD Blu-ray, we've got answers

Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players are a killer way to beef up your home theater. Here's everything you need to know about one of the most significant advances to hit home entertainment in years.
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.
Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX just nailed its most challenging Falcon 9 rocket landing to date

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.
Emerging Tech

Touchdown! Japan successfully lands its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on asteroid Ryugu

Japan's space agency has just completed the latest stage of its extraordinarily complex mission, successfully landing its Hayabusa2 spacecraft on an asteroid millions of miles from Earth.
Emerging Tech

Delivery drones: NASA to test advanced traffic control system for cities

Delivery drone services are edging closer as NASA prepares to demonstrate its advanced drone traffic management system, which it claims offers safe and effective control of autonomous aircraft in urban areas.
Emerging Tech

Kickstarter campaign aims to help make 3D-printed space habitats for Mars

Mars X-House is an ambitious project that's intended to create a prototype future Mars habitat using 3D printing. And, thanks to a new Kickstarter campaign, you can be a part of it.
Emerging Tech

Engineer turns his old Apple lle into an wheeled robot, and even gives it a sword

How do you give new life to a 30-year-old computer? Software engineer Mike Kohn found a way by transforming his old Apple IIe into a wheeled robot. Check it out in all its 1980s glory.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic completes another test flight, this time with a passenger

Virgin Galactic chief astronaut instructor Beth Moses rode the company's spacecraft as a passenger on Friday, a key milestone toward commercial availability of the flights later this year. Moses rode along to test "cabin design elements."
Emerging Tech

Controversial CRISPR baby experiment may have resulted in brain enhancements

China’s CRISPR baby saga continues to rage on. Scientists have now expressed concerns that the procedure may have also resulted in changes in the babies’ brains affecting cognition.