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Making medical radiology more mobile and flexible

Whether it's medical deserts, overcrowded hospital wards, or a lack of solutions for patients too sick to move, medical radiology is no stranger to today's healthcare challenges. These issues could soon be resolved thanks to the mobile and flexible radiology systems developed by the NEMOXIS consortium, led by Thales, in which the CEA (Commissariat à l'Énergie atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives) is contributing its expertise in silicon wafers, system design by simulation, and 3D image reconstruction algorithms.

Published on 14 October 2022

The purpose of the NEMOXIS* project is to lay the groundwork for an independent medical equipment and e-health services industry in France. The goal is to support the transformations that have begun to reshape the medical imaging field since the pandemic. Specifically, the project consortium will develop mobile, flexible radiology solutions to enable rapid, safe, and secure diagnoses.

They will leverage a new technology called XED** developed by project lead Thales. The carbon-nanotube-based miniaturized X-ray sources will be at the core of two new-generation solutions, an ultra-compact portable 2D X-ray system and a mobile autonomous 3D imaging system. Both solutions will have fast, secure connections to remote radiology services to enable point-of-care diagnoses.

The 3D (tomosynthesis) imaging system consists of several X-ray sources mounted on a human-sized articulated robotic arm and triggered sequentially. The images are then processed by a 3D reconstruction algorithm developed by CEA-Leti. CEA-Leti's simulation tools, which integrate X-ray sources, detectors, phantoms, and image processing and reconstruction algorithms, can be used to test different possible target system configurations, such as the number of sources and their power and positions, as well as the kind of image processing for a given quality of output. In addition to this simulation know-how spanning the entire medical imaging chain, CEA-Leti is also producing the silicon wafers on which the carbon nanotubes used in the X-ray sources in both solutions will be grown.

By being combined with digital radiology solutions platform and a mobile radiology services operator, these two new solutions will help revolutionize patient care and management. Medical deserts with low access to care or that are far away from large medical facilities will be among the major beneficiaries. But the solutions could also make their way into private homes, care homes, workplaces, and schools.

*NExt generation Mobile X-ray Imaging System,

** X-ray Emitting Diode

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