See Bones, Blood and Tissue in World's First 3D Colored X-Ray

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Think you know what to expect from an X-ray? Think again. MARS Bioimaging just developed the world’s first 3D full-color X-ray — they’re pretty incredible (and a little uncanny). The MARS system is a medical scanner using technology from CERN, and it captures the human body in startling detail. It took over a decade to develop, and it could offer not only more visually stimulating bone-scans, but more accurate results for doctors and patients.

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The “Spectral CT” uses a sensor that can measure specific wavelengths of X-rays as they pass through various materials. Next, the system runs the spectroscopic data through algorithms, generating a 3D colored image in previously unimaginable detail. In these scans, you can not only see bone, but blood, tissue, fat, and even the inner workings of a watch. The MARS scanner use Medipix chips, which were first developed to track particles at the Large Hadron Collider. The chip essentially functions like a camera that captures and counts every individual particle to produce very accurate, 3D renderings of the human body. According to CERN, the technology can “get images that no other imaging tool can achieve.”

Mars Bioimaging

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The scanner has been used to study cancer, vascular diseases, and bone and joint health. “In all of these studies, promising early results suggest that when spectral imaging is routinely used in clinics it will enable more accurate diagnosis and personalisation of treatment,” said Professor Anthony Butler, a codeveloper of the technology. Over the next few months, a group of orthopedic and rheumatology patients in New Zealand will get to test out the 3D colored X-rays in clinical trials. The company hopes to eventually publicize the scanner.

(CERN/New Atlas)

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