X-rays without film. Fewer X-rays taken. Less radiation exposure. Real-time digital images that can be stored electronically or sent anywhere in the world via telecommunications systems. Such will be the change in X-ray technology with the large-scale, amorphous-silicon X-ray detectors developed by GE Medical Systems (Milwaukee, WI). Conventional X-ray film and chemicals are replaced with computer images and a large-format X-ray detector. Measuring up to 41 @ 41 cm in the active area, GE says these are the largest panels available anywhere. The immense format and high pixel density eliminate the need for optical image reduction. Each pixel delivers up to 16 bits of dynamic-range (contrast) information. Officials at GE predict this will revolutionize the way X-ray images are acquired, analyzed and shared. The manufacture of the detector starts with a pizza-box-size, glass-panel substrate. Photolithographic techniques create photodiodes by applying and patterning successive thin-film layers of silicon, metals, and insulators. A final layer of scintillator material, which converts X-ray photons to visible light, is applied over the array. EG&G (Santa Clara, CA) will have exclusive rights to manufacture the panels, available for medical applications by late 1998 or early 1999. Phone (408) 565-0850.
During a teardown of the iPad Air and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Schaumburg, Ill., an engineer showed this "inflammatory" video about the dangers of maliciously mishandling lithium-ion batteries.
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
In this new Design News feature, "How it Works," we’re starting off by examining the inner workings of the electronic cigarette. While e-cigarettes seemed like a gimmick just two or three years ago, they’re catching fire -- so to speak. Sales topped $1 billion last year and are set to hit $10 billion by 2017. Cigarette companies are fighting back by buying up e-cigarette manufacturers.
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