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Improving Medical X-Rays with Kinect


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We have known for a long time that sometimes a product can take on new and amazing possibilities it was not originally designed for thanks to creative users. The Kinect from Microsoft is an excellent example of this as the motion tracking system was original meant for the Xbox 360, but has also been used with robots. Now the Kinect could find itself in hospitals as a means to improve X-ray precision, thanks to researchers at Washington University in St. Louis.

Medical X-rays involve aiming firing the high energy photons at a person's body and capturing them on the other side, to see what they hit along the way. To do this properly the thickness of the patient's body needs to be known and the patient needs to be in the right position. If the patient happens to be a child, these criteria can be hard to meet as body thickness can vary greatly across children of all ages, and some may not want to hold still. Using special software, the Kinect is able to track where the patient's body is before taking the X-ray and is also able to measure body thickness.

By using the Kinect to improve X-rays it will be possible to reduce exposure to the radiation, as fewer images will need to be taken. So far all of the work has been done with the Kinect 1.0, but thanks to new funding this year, the researchers intend to continue their work and update it to use Microsoft Kinect 2.0.

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

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