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Low Cost X-Ray Systems for Developing Nations

This is the result of 3,500 man-hours of labor and love, but we need your help to push it forward, HAD community

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The W.H.O. reports that two thirds of the world does not have access to medical radiography. One year ago, I set out with the goal of designing an inexpensive x-ray system to help solve this problem, and have been working on the project full-time since then. This summary is the result of more than 3,500 hours spent trying to solve this problem, and describes:

-A mobile x-ray system I set out to design.

- A 200W backpack x-ray source, as a proof of concept.

- A better x-ray tube, which would allow for longer life, and intense imaging with no moving parts.

- A solid state x-ray sensor that would cost up to 1/20th of what x-ray sensors currently cost to manufacture.

I've now joined with a long-time friend to push this project further forward, but there is a lot of work left to do, yet, before we're ready to help heal broken bones. We're going to need HAD's help to make that happen though, and so, this is our entry.

Hopefully we're building something that matters!

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March 2014 - Designs and a Proposal

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May 2014 - Writing a detailed technical proposal and tossing away my old life

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June 2014 - A month of invention

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July, August 2014 - Months of rejection in San Francisco

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September 2014 - Designing a prototype source pt. 1

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October 2014 - Designing a prototype source pt. 2

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November 2014 - Designing a prototype source pt. 3

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December 2014 - Testing, verification, documentation

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January 2015 - Wrapping up the prototype and repairing bond wires by hand

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February 2015 - Losing everything in a burglary, fighting depression, and staring into an abyss

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March 2015 - Designing a low cost x-ray sensor - first attempt

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March 2015 - Building a mini "CT scanner" for fun

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April, May 2015 - Designing a low cost x-ray sensor - second attempt

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June, July 2015 - A friend joins, a "no" from google.org and other fun activities

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July 2015 - A big collection of x-ray photos for y'all

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August 2015 - Open sourcing a year's worth of development, and hoping HAD thinks we're awesome

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September 2015 - Soft 'No's, CT Scanners, & Bootstrapping



Note: I have a radiation safety guide you should read before attempting any x-ray experiments

View all 8 components

  • September 2015 - Soft 'No's, CT Scanners, & Bootstrapping

    Adam Munich09/29/2015 at 22:16 2 comments

    September has been a busy month. Tyler and I have moved from the east bay to San Mateo in search of more space to do our work in!

    However while that was successful, this month has been filled with more rejection from potential financiers for this project. The VC world is very funny, no one ever says "no", but, instead they say "come back later", "now's not the time", or some variant thereof. Chiefly, it appears that manufacturing for most investors doesn't seem to be an exciting opportunity, and, as we add up the overhead costs it's easy to see why. For most low-ticket items, it's just barely worth it in America, and this is unlikely to change any time soon.

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    Given this frustrating situation, we've decided that it's worth attempting to bootstrap our work by designing an x-ray scanner usable by makers. Particularly, a desktop CT scanner! Much of this month has been spent designing this scanner, in a manner to be as affordable as possible, and, writing code to handle the cone-beam back-projection, and CV functions to interpolate the sparse-ly sampled data.

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    This scanner uses a simpler x-ray source, which is no more than a transformer, fancy plastic, an H bridge and ATMEGA-32. It's not yet complete however, and so, we have few useful designs to share.

    Mainboard: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwIWrZZX8IW6eWl2d1JYcFYzQm8/view?usp=sharing

    HV PCB: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwIWrZZX8IW6ajVUQlVQcGJPNWc/view?usp=sharing

    However, if you'd like the partially-completed CAD models, feel free to say so!

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  • July 2015 - A big collection of x-ray photos for y'all

    Adam Munich08/16/2015 at 03:00 1 comment

    In this log I'm going to share a big collection of x-ray photos for y'all.

    Many of these photos were built from multiple x-ray exposures on a small sensor, and have been stitched together into the result you see. As such, please forgive any discontinuities there may be in the resulting images.

    Also, they have been compressed. Many of these images started off as huge PNG's: too big to share all willy-nilly.


    Crazyflie 2.0


    Coin electronic credit card:


    Small vacuum tube:


    Micro SD Card:


    Rotational x-ray of pololu motor driver:


    Rotational x-ray of Teensy:


    Intel Edison:

  • March 2015 - Building a mini "CT scanner" for fun

    Adam Munich08/16/2015 at 02:49 1 comment

    With a working, mini x-ray sensor, and a bluetooth-controlled mobile x-ray source on hand, it seemed silly not to capture some 3D / rotated x-ray images of the small electronics trinkets I could get my hands on.

    To do so, I put together a small stepper motor system consisting of a micro controller, a stepper motor driver, a few buttons and a nice base. The microcontroller is programmed to accept some integer number of steps, and will send commands over its serial port to the computer before each step.

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    On my computer, I bridged the serial port to feed its incoming data out the virtual bluetooth port, connected to the x-ray source. Initially I had a bluetooth radio on the CT scanner itself, but, it proved too unreliable for reasons I haven't yet figured out myself.

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    The results were pretty to look at, to say the least.

    I have not yet written a script that preforms the radon transform on the image collections, but, if anyone is willing to take the challenge, I'd love to hear more about it!


    Pololu Stepper driver:


    Teensy 3.0:

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    The source files for this small CT scanner are available here. It uses a standard size stepper motor.

  • August 2015 - Open sourcing a year's worth of development, and hoping HAD thinks we're awesome

    Adam Munich08/15/2015 at 22:43 0 comments

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    Without many folks interested in helping us build better x-ray hardware, we're turning to my favorite blog for support.

    Despite being adept hackers, to take our projects from "that's cool and kind of works" to, "we can make a bunch of those for WHO" will require experiments, tooled molds and other things that are a bit out of our chicken-strips budget.

    We're going to open-source our development, inventions, and hope that the community and judges find our mission worthwhile, and our work impressive enough to support.

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    Without further adieu, here's everything that can be built at home.

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    Parts list for the 200W source: http://i.imgur.com/LYPxxfI.png

    Board file for the 200W source: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwIWrZZX8IW6U2trR2JNYU9ZRzA/view

    Cad model for the 200W source (Rev 1): https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwIWrZZX8IW6fldCRFpucXJuakRndlJ1QVZWRlNqX3IxdVFIVkJlNTdFQk1lVmhzZy1VeEk&usp=sharing

    Cad model for the 200W source (Rev 2): https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwIWrZZX8IW6fk5BVy1TMmd6YW9wSk9hU3RaT1pmd01mTHRueXhRX1BfbEdHUmxlb2stR1U&usp=sharing

    Code for the 200W source (Rev 1): https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwIWrZZX8IW6flpXNkozWVl1QzNReW9jS3B4UDdmNV9yNlg1ZTh6WWlhMTJRRlo4QWxFeUk&usp=sharing

    Code for the 200W source (Rev 2): https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwIWrZZX8IW6fll5U1U5ekF6cmNOWV8yVElYMlRqcC1xdmxqMWJ2N3NIMVVqbGRmSHRNbE0&usp=sharing

    Code for the photostimulable phosphor sensor: https://drive.google.com/a/adammunich.com/folderview?id=0BwIWrZZX8IW6fk4zTXN2Smx2WTVYTzU1RnBSZ3Y1emE1YXdod1NJcHZLQi1WOW1HSHVPZHM&usp=sharing

    CAD model for the sensor prism: https://drive.google.com/a/adammunich.com/file/d/0BwIWrZZX8IW6VTJNQ2h1Q2UtaGM/view?usp=sharing

    CT scanner source files: https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwIWrZZX8IW6fjF3LXdmUzlzMUUwWHhiS3VDcDkwV2dTTUttRFFnb1hDMENnYzhiV3JFNkU&usp=sharing

  • June, July 2015 - A friend joins, no's from google.org and other fun activities

    Adam Munich08/15/2015 at 21:44 0 comments

    At the beginning of June, Tyler "Frodo" haun moved to CA with a sleeping bag, to join his long-time friend hell-bent on the mission to build cheap x-ray systems.

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    I don't blame him; buffalo isn't quite the hotbed for technology!

    Tyler's main interests are computer programming and signal processing, and, with a doublet of engineers on this project it was time to go look for people to help make it happen.

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    Google.org - Uninterested

    WHO - Sounds good, come back when you have products ready

    NGOs who distribute med devices - Sounds good, come back when you have products ready

    Gates Foundation - No response

    Sand Hill Road - "Soft No's"

    Hanergy - No response

    (continued...)

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    Or should I say... didn't care too much.

    Is anybody out there?

    At mid-July, Tyler took a job debugging code to upgrade from ramen noodles to chicken strips, and I continued polishing up some of the work we had to share with the hope of finding some sort of path forward.

  • April, May 2015 - Designing a low cost x-ray sensor - second attempt

    Adam Munich08/15/2015 at 21:19 0 comments

    Building upon what I learned from the last sensor, I set out again to build a low cost x-ray camera. This time, I excluded the possibility of using any moving parts in the design.

    After thinking about flat panel displays, I hypothesized the following:

    Following the total internal reflection principles used in LCD backlight panels, is it possible to capture an image in the same way? That is, to design a prism which folds light coming in at the critical angle, throughout the prism body in such a way that you see the image of its face in the base of the prism.

    If so, I could capture the image on an x-ray phosphor panel with little more than a camera and molded plastic!

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    Within a few days, I had learned how to use optical design software. In theory, my models suggested that this could work.

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    But how could I possibly test this in the real world? I never had optically polished anything before, let alone built a prism.

    The answer is, very carefully.

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    And slowly. This took a few days.

    Eventually, I had my prism.

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    And my lord, it worked.

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    With this, a phosphor plate and a camera with large pixels, I should be able to capture x-ray images without film, for a substantially less sum than if I were to make a large silicon wafer for the purpose.

    To test this, I made the prism light-tight, and coupled (the same crappy) webcam to it..

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    And in 200 ms, I had a reasonable x-ray image! I had matched x-ray film in exposure dose.

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    The image is a bit blurry as my optical surfaces were a little less than stellar, but with a diamond turned mold for the PMMA, this is won't be a problem!

  • March 2015 - Designing a low cost x-ray sensor - first attempt

    Adam Munich08/15/2015 at 20:33 0 comments

    At this point, I had recovered, or rebuilt most of what was lost in February. Feeling (somewhat) better, I set out to design a low cost x-ray sensor to accompany the x-ray source. Film after all, is expensive, messy, and, very logistically troublesome for medical practices in places that have less infrastructure than the USA.

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    Silicon wafers are expensive, let's use less of them!

    By using a photostimulable phosphor plate, (ie, a phosphor whose previously stored energy may be released by a low-energy photon), we
    could in theory, capture a low-dose transmission x-ray, and there-after read it out using an array of 650nm laser diodes linearly focused onto the plate with a cylindrical lens, and a 1D array of CMOS photodiodes which sense the stimulated emission (blue light) via a1D-array of rod lenses and a dielectric, high-pass mirror.

    The gantry containing these optics could be placed behind the plate and moved with a stepper motor much like a flatbed scanner, which would allow us to produce self-contained digital x-ray sensors of any size, at a fraction of the cost of using a 2D array of CMOS photodiodes as is done currently.

    To build this, I used;

    • 10 Laser Diodes
    • Europium-doped barium fluorobromide phosphor
    • A floppy disk drive
    • A logitech webcam
    • Plastic rods and optical cement
    • An MSP430 and stepper motor drivers
    • Dielectric mirrors from a projector
    • Solder
    • A cardboard box
    • An image intensifier (since the webcam is crappy)

    And, built this assembly below:

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    Before an x-ray exposure, the laser diodes (on the board with the blue potentiometer) would illuminate and cast a line on the phosphor plate, which scans back and forth a few times to clear any cosmic ray noise that could have been there.

    After an x-ray exposure, the laser diodes pulse briefly, and the phosphor emits a blue light that is reflected off a mirror, focused through two dielectric filters onto the image intensifier, and then finally digitized by the camera. This process repeats 130 times, and a collection of 1D images are recorded in a computer by a python script for later stitching.

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    For testing purposes, I built a small copper grille to take an image of.

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    And, this was the result.

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    I wasn't too impressed. Never mind the limited lines / mm. That could be fixed.

    What was unsettling, was the terrible dynamic range. Despite the two filters, ted light overpowered blue, To fix this, I would need very expensive, tuned laser diodes and a very narrow band filter to record *only* blue light. This would make the cost of a real sensor prohibitively high.

  • February 2015 - Losing everything in a burglary, fighting depression, and staring into an abyss

    Adam Munich08/15/2015 at 19:30 0 comments

    At the end of January, I had built something incredible. A 200 watt, backpack x-ray source, and accessories, capable of taking 80 exposures on a battery charge, and with a beam resolution great enough to see the bond wires in an IC.

    How amazing!

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    On February 2, after working 14 hour days, for 4 months straight, it was time to take a break. I backed up my files on a hard drive, an SD card, and a CD, put everything in a box, and drove to the YMCA for an evening of rest.

    When I came back, I was greeted with a smashed automobile, and glass scattered about the parking lot. The box was gone, my computer was gone. Even the flash drive in the center console.

    I lost all my work.

    Everything.

    I go home, and go to sleep.


    The next day, I surveyed the damage to see what could be recovered.

    Unfortunately, not a whole lot. My online backups were 2 months old, I had no cad models saved, no circuit designs, no documents... nothing. In haste, I printed up posters, and taped them all over Oakland. Maybe someone would spot the machine? Maybe...?


    At this point, I wasn't feeling the best. "There is so much work that needs to be done now", was all I could think about. In fervor, I spent 2 sleepless weeks rebuilding everything from memory.

    A new cad model. New code. New PCBs, New everything.

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    But, life just kept getting darker. Eventually, I set everything aside and just... thought.

    It started to set in, that perhaps I was going about life wrong. If I could put 120% into something, and have nothing become of it, what's the point? Why bother?

    We all know money doesn't bring happiness. Work doesn't make people happy. Even accomplishment only brings about fleeting jubilance.

    What brings profound joy is people. The time you spend with them, how you spend it with them, and the memories and relationships you build with them.

    Some of the most fond memories I had were of the time I spent with people, not just with electronics.

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    I set down my soldering iron, and played the bass guitar with some folks at Sudo Room.


    At the end of February, I received an email.

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    An old man at a nursing home wants to return the x-ray machine for recycling. Perhaps that user manual wasn't a waste of time after all.


    You just can't make this shit up.

  • January 2015 - Wrapping up the prototype and repairing bond wires by hand

    Adam Munich08/15/2015 at 19:04 0 comments

    January had rolled around, and it was time to wrap up my prototype. Literally :-)

    I built a box from glossy paper prints, cut cardboard, and about a day's worth of frustration. I did my best to make it look as pretty as possible, and, as functional as you'd expect a box to be.

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    In retrospect, I'm not sure why I did design a box and user manual for this machine. I had gotten so caught-up in building things, that I failed to see any opportunity cost in building unnecessary stuff!


    Now, at this point, I wasn't too sure of the quality of the x-ray beam I was producing. I didn't have any x-ray image sensors that could do a better job than my logitech webcam, but, it was plain to see that the beam was intense. But, was it coherent?

    To answer that question, I bought a semi-working dental x-ray sensor. It consists of a CMOS photodiode array glued to a fiber optic plate, itself glued to a scintillation screen which converts x-ray photons into blue ones. Any image displayed on this screen will be coupled to the CMOS sensor array via the fiber optic plate (which increases resolution by making light rays parallel), for recording.

    Gotta love the marketing speak.

    Unfortunately these sensors cost a great nickel and penny; far too much for me to afford. I ended up purchasing a broken one, with the hope that there might be something I can do to fix it.

    To my dismay, the problem turned out to be one of broken bond wires.

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    Fortunately though, under close inspection it appeared that only a few were actually broken; the rest were just bent at all odd angles.

    So, how did I fix them?

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    By wiring a sewing needle to a metcal iron, wetting it, and very carefully soldering the bond wires back in place after moving them to the correct position with another needle.

    This might be news to many folks, but, a healthy human hand is capable of micrometer positioning! The only thing that limits your ability to move that precisely is your eyesight, however, a stereo microscope can readily solve that problem. I don't have any photos of the repair process, but, when all was said and done, it took about 5 careful hours to complete.


    So, how were the results?

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    Amazing, to say the least. The above photo is one looking through a cheap calculator. Note, that the 35 micron-wide bond wires are visible inside the main IC! At this energy, (50keV), silicon, and the rubber buttons are wholly transparent.

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    The following picture is one of an SD card.

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    And this one, of a micro-SD card.

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    To say I was floored by how beautiful these radiographs were, would be an understatement.

  • December 2014 - Testing, verification, documentation

    Adam Munich08/15/2015 at 18:00 0 comments

    At the end of November, I just about had all the electronics designed and working reliably. My code had been written, it seemed to work well, and overall things were looking bright. However, it was now time to assemble everything I neglected, including the high voltage oil tank.

    Why an oil tank?

    To run an x-ray tube, you need a very substantial voltage: anywhere from 60 to 80 kiloVolts is not uncommon! At these voltages air is unfortunately a pretty poor insulator, and will break down readily to the detriment of your high voltage components. Oil on the other hand, tends to be a pretty good insulator.

    At first, I tried taking baby oil from the local grocer, and pumping it down under vacuum to drive out all of the water.

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    For some time this proved to be sufficient, however, after a while I noticed some sparks in the (leaky) oil tank. Clearly, I needed real dielectric oil!

    Unfortunately, just going out and buying dielectric oil isn't the easiest thing to do. It's sold only in 55 gallon drums, and, to buy any less of it means you're going to need a friend with such a drum. That was not something I had, but, after about 20 phone calls to companies around the bay area, I found a motor repair shop which was willing to let me fill up a jar of Shell Diala AX.

    The specs of this oil are amazing!

    It's not often you see "water" measured in units of PPM.

    Using this oil solved the sparking issue, and covering the 3D printed oil tank in several layers of epoxy fixed the leaks.

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    In a way that's quite pretty, if a bit lumpy.

    Following this, I had my first real x-ray beams. Interestingly enough, on a phosphor screen, they were bright enough to see in a semi-lit room with the unaided eye.

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    To capture x-ray images, I attached a lens to an image intensifying tube, and, placed that in front of a Logitech webcam. With a mirror, this assembly could view the image from a phosphor screen without picking up too much noise.

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    And, how did it turn out?

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    A little noisy, but clearly, working!

    Somewhat.

    Every so often, I encountered the strangest problem where the machine would simply turn off during an x-ray exposure. This sometimes was preceded by what I can best describe as "static shock sounds". Furthermore, when the x-ray machine's lid was off, it wouldn't have this issue. This puzzled me for a bit, as I had bypass capacitors everywhere, and my oscilloscope didn't suggest there was any noise in the circuit crazy enough to turn it off.

    As one would have it, the problem turned out to be

    Electro-static noise from the high voltage oil tank, coupling to the LCD panel.

    Really. It was the E-Field.

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    Copper foil fixed it. Crazy, huh?


    To teach people how to use the x-ray source, and to serve as a short "how to" on radiography, I made a handbook to go along with the machine (which is now lost, for reasons to be described later).

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    And, a datasheet that describes all of its functions!

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    At this point, what I had built was starting to look pretty dang cool!

View all 17 project logs

  • 1
    Step 1

    To build an x-ray source:

    1. Order the parts described
    2. Order a board from Bay Area Circuits or OSHPark
    3. Solder like the wind
    4. 3D Print Cad Model V1
    5. Carefully assemble...

    We made a detailed build log to help you better understand how the x-ray source, and sensors, were constructed.

View all instructions

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Discussions

qishuhua wrote 10/25/2018 at 05:51 point

Has this project component stopped sharing?

  Are you sure? yes | no

ArsenioDev wrote 05/31/2016 at 20:12 point

This blows my crappy idea WAY out of the water. 
I was using the scotch tape triboluminescence effect but hit the major stopping block of the x ray sensor. Wishing you the best

  Are you sure? yes | no

david.orendac wrote 03/08/2016 at 01:46 point

The best project I've ever seen.  Keep up the tenacity.  

Did you put any manufacturing,  marketing, competitor information, and production information in your proposal (business  people often only think in terms of $$ cost/benefit)?  If not, I would suggest doing so along with estimated costs for further refining-or completing design, estimates of compliance and safety testing, and an estimate of cost for manufacturing the device.  (Triple all your estimates.)

Were you able to ask any of the VC people what you should add to your proposal to increase their interest?

What happened with the patent?  I hope it went through.

  Are you sure? yes | no

khordas wrote 12/10/2015 at 00:51 point

A question about your prism design. I can't find anything in the documentation as to what material.  I'm assuming it's either acrylic or polycarbonate, but they have different indexes of refraction, so it should work better with whatever one you used when you tried. Thanks.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Anthony wrote 09/03/2015 at 16:42 point

Aside from obvious 'field-medicine' applications, obviously (used responsibly) something every hacker space should have for checking BGA alignments. 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Radu Motisan wrote 08/31/2015 at 09:05 point

Hi Gren, what a pleasant surprise! Congrats on the project and the semifinals!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Adam Munich wrote 08/31/2015 at 20:49 point

Hi Radhoo, 

Haven't been on the 4HV forums in a while, been meaning to share more about this but it just hasn't yet happened! 

  Are you sure? yes | no

Radu Motisan wrote 08/31/2015 at 21:00 point

neither have I . But still .. good old 4hv days !

  Are you sure? yes | no

Adam Munich wrote 08/19/2015 at 19:49 point

Hi all. I urge you to read my "Radiation Safety" guide before attempting any of these experiments. 

~ Excerpt ~ 

Nonionizing radiation, the stuff of microwave, infrared and visible light doesn’t have the energy needed to break chemical bonds, so we may sit out in the sun and get bombarded with a thousand watts and feel no ill effects. Once we reach ultraviolet though, this radiation now has enough energy to break those chemical bonds; including the ones in our bodies. This means this high energy radiation can damage DNA. In high enough doses, it may even cause radiation sickness.

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- Radiation Sickness -

Acute radiation sickness occurs when your body has absorbed a large amount of ionizing radiation, usually on the order of several sieverts. What makes radiation lethal is the effect it has on DNA. When a high energy particle, be it a photon or some other particle collides with DNA it breaks bonds and rearranges the bases. Normally your cells can repair this damage, but if a cell fails at that task it often commits suicide before it divides. For long living cells such as muscle this isn’t too much of a problem, since the other cells have time to replace the dead ones. For short-lived cells though, this apoptosis becomes a major issue as cells are dying too fast to be replaced.


Such short lived cells include the mucus-making cells that line the intestinal wall. When exposed to enough radiation, these mucus cells start to die off en masse, and so are not replaced. No mucus cells means there will be no mucus, and no mucus means there is no protection from stomach acid. The intestine stops absorbing food particles, acid burns the tissue, and eventually you die of sepsis. If somehow you survive this ordeal, you will now need a bone marrow transplant since the short-lived bone marrow cells have died off. Radiation sickness symptoms include nausea, stomach pain and a lack of energy, and a detailed chart of symptoms can be found here.


Now that’s why we shield ourselves from ionizing radiation! Keep in mind that it takes a very large amount of radiation to cause radiation sickness, not something a fiestaware plate or even a radium painted clock could ever produce. However, a Coolidge tube is certainly capable of generating very intense radiation.

(continued at http://adammunich.com/radiation-safety/ )

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Cat Piano wrote 08/17/2015 at 05:19 point

Long time lurker here. 

First, congratulations on an awesome project, you deserve recognition for this work. Keep on going strong, and ignore the haters who do nothing but love to point out problems!

I signed up to ask, what gauge wire did you use in your transformer? I don't see it mentioned anywhere. Also, is that home-made litz wire I see in the primary coil?

  Are you sure? yes | no

Adam Munich wrote 08/17/2015 at 05:22 point

I used 36AWG kapton-insulated wire, and yes, that's home-made litz wire!

  Are you sure? yes | no

peter jansen wrote 08/16/2015 at 21:30 point

While developing medical imaging equipment for developing nations is a really noble goal, this is the most profoundly dangerous and (in most places) illegal project that I have seen in a long time.  Though I'm by no means an expert in radiology or biophysics, it's my understanding that lower-cost portable/wheel-mounted systems are common (they still have to be constructed safely and repeatably, which is expensive), and that the safety infrastructure (like a lead lined room), system maintenance and costs, and lack of trained radiologists are primary limiting factors for developing countries.  I think I remember reading that the WHIS-RAD units specifically built to the WHO specifications for this purpose (with simple maintenance plans and capable of being run on batteries) were around $40-80k a number of years ago, and the GlobalDiagnostiX team at EPFL announced earlier this year that they also had a late stage prototype of a system designed for developing countries with simple maintenance for about 10 times cheaper than existing systems over it's lifespan.  

The reason that you don't see people strapping long cables to x-ray tubes and walking around doing radiography anymore (despite this having been an option for the past 100 years) is that Edison, Tesla, and professional to amateur scientists the world over found out this was a REALLY bad idea even before the turn of the 1900s when people experimenting with their own tubes started dying of cancer, having appendages amputated from "radiation dermatitis", and other terrible consequences.  

Having what appears to be essentially a portable x-ray flashbulb unattached to both the infrastructure use it safely (like a lead lined room) and a person certified to be a safe radiographic operator is unfathomable.  Doing this outside of those conditions is horrific, what's happening to the people on the other side of the walls/floors that you're pointing it at?  I can see someone building this and setting it up on a table somewhere as you've shown (like in their apartment), setting it to a pulsed mode like you've shown for the CT, and beginning to wipe out the bone marrow in (say) a newborn infant sleeping in a crib on the other side of that wall in the next apartment over!  And all without anyone knowing!  There is a reason this is illegal!

Though you drew an incredibly disrespectful comic of yourself triumphantly standing on the grave of Dr. William Coolidge in your second post -- the inventor of the modern x-ray tube, and a person directly responsible for helping diagnose and heal millions of people each year -- there's probably a great deal you could learn from him. It's my understanding that he not only developed small tubes that could be shielded (for fields such as dentistry), but he must have had a great respect for radiological safety, having lived to be 102. 

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Adam Munich wrote 08/17/2015 at 05:13 point

Peter,

LOLrioKart speeding past him on the ivory tower? There are portable x-ray units in use similar to this one (see, source-ray inc, for example, and min-x-ray), however, they are very expensive and out of the price range most folks in this world can afford. It is true that training is an issue, but cost of the devices, and sensors especially, is still a substantial barrier. If someone wishes to build what I have here and misuse the device, that is not something I have much control of. I don't believe in restricting information to protect against hypothetical fools. While x-radiation is dangerous if misused, when these machines are operated properly, there is not much to be worried about.

Nonetheless, your very illustrative criticism is appreciated.

I spoke with globaldiagnostix, and they are interested in any inexpensive x-ray sensors I can design for them. Part of my future plans for this project, if I can get it funded, involve follwing through on that.

Cheers,
-Adam

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DJ wrote 08/16/2015 at 00:16 point

You ARE awesome. 

Keep up the great work :)

Kickstarter?

Working on an open source hearing aid atm, lost alot of work a while ago, both main and backup drive failed in the same day.  

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Adam Munich wrote 08/17/2015 at 05:42 point

I'm not sure kickstarter is the correct platform for something like this. However, I am planning on designing a self-contained x-ray imaging device which is much more suited to the average engineer than this machine is. :-)

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