X-rays are taken for granted in the Western world, but the World Health Organization believes that nearly two-thirds of the world’s population cannot reliably obtain diagnostic imaging.
The cost of equipment alone is unbearable in many developing countries, and the cost of hardware maintenance and power supply is as high as millions of dollars.
Nanox claims that its “digital” X-ray machine is a biological bed inspired by Star Trek, called Nanox Arc, which is cheaper to use, easy to maintain, and does not require installation in large hospital facilities.
The company conducted the first live demonstration of the technology earlier this week. The presentation came from its Israeli headquarters and was broadcast (online only, thanks to COVID) to the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.
During the exhibition, CEO Ran Poliakine took X-rays with a device carrying the company’s customized hardware. Then he showed the beds, which scanned a leg of lamb and some medical dummies for analysis.
During the presentation, a pair of “independent” radiologists expressed appreciation for Nanox’s work. They commented on the speed and accuracy of the images taken, especially when examining 3D images of chest X-rays.
They say that more tubes-Nanox Arc has six independent X-ray tubes that can be used in different amplitudes-can make it easier to spot small lesions and tumors.
These tubes are the source of Nanox’s innovation. 10 cm cylinder using “cold cathode” technology. The hexagons of these tubes are located inside the ring, and the mechanical bed draws the patient through the ring, allowing the machine to scan the entire body.
Nanox said the system can provide bone X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans at the same time. After one minute of processing, the data will be used to create a scrollable 3D model of the human body, allowing professionals to see both soft tissues and bones.
The story of Nanox began in 1998 with the wreckage of Sony’s doomed field emission display project. Sony is seeking to create higher-definition TVs to avoid the (common at the time) LCD and LCD dead pixels, flickering, and screen burn issues. Plasma TV.
Its solution adopted the basic concept of old cathode ray televisions-firing an electron gun on a phosphorescent display-and updated it. Instead of launching a single electron gun on the screen, Sony made a MEMS chip but encapsulated millions of tiny electron guns into a silicon wafer.
The early demonstrations of this technology have high definition and can reduce the risk of bad pixels, so it is very promising. However, with the development of cheaper and cheaper LCD/LED TVs, Sony’s expensive but potentially high-end technology has been hindered.
In 2009, it was reported that Sony spent nearly $1 billion on research and development, killed the project, and then sold the technology (and its team) to Japanese businessman Masuya Hitoshi Masuya. He recruited Powermat founder Poliakine to join and run the company, which has been committed to applying technology to medical imaging.
Traditional “hot cathode” X-rays work by passing a current through a heated filament. The filament trapped in the vacuum shoots electrons toward the anode, and when they collide, they release high-energy photons (X-rays).
In addition to the single hole, the tube itself is lined, which is how these photons are aimed at people. Some parts of the human body are more permeable to X-rays than others, so capturing what is passing on photographic film allows radiographers to see what is happening inside the body.
The disadvantage is that heating the filament consumes a lot of energy and time, and the lamp needs to be replaced regularly.
For many years, creating a “cold cathode” system that does not require heating has been the goal of many companies. (The earliest X-rays used cold cathodes, called “Crooks tubes”, but they proved unreliable).
Recently, researchers have tried to build cold cathodes using carbon nanotube-based field emitters, which act as electron guns. But no company has brought these systems to the market yet-we got the 2019 press release from a company called Meiden, but the pace has stalled since then.
Sony’s “billion-dollar” field emission display technology was born based on this technology. It has acted as a basic electron gun, which can be activated and deactivated with a single tap without heating.
Not everyone is as passionate about the company as some of the most supportive cheerleaders right now. After the company decided to conduct an initial public offering (IPO) in August, analyst and short-sale trading expert Andrew Left (Andrew Left) participated.
The figures behind Citron Research, who is also a long-time critic of Tesla, said Nanox is “a complete farce.” Zuo added that the company is another Theranos and the list of customers it claims is “fake”.
Polyakin described the leftist claims as “nonsense” and “lie”, adding that his focus was on delivering the finished product. However, demonstrating the technique in front of a group of outstanding radiologists will help dispel these claims.
(Engadget contacted Andrew Left for comment, and has not received a response at the time of publication). It is not until independent evaluators have used or at least tested Nanox’s hardware in the real world before we can clearly understand its efficacy and reliability.
Nanox does not intend to target hospitals and large healthcare companies but rather hopes to place its products in underserved areas. The business model is also different.
Poliakine said there is no charge for these beds. Poliakine said that the construction and transportation cost only $14,000, while the basic CT scanner cost about $300,000.
Instead, it will be loaned to remote clinics, just like borrowing an office printer from a large company, at $14 per scan.
The fee will also cover cloud storage and the option of using AI medical analysis services. Many companies are researching AI to help doctors find abnormalities in X-ray scans.
Nanox is now turning its attention to the first hardware scheduled to be launched in early 2021.
The company expects to install a small number of beds in the first few months, but plans to reach its goal of 15,000 units in the next few months and years. Once the clinic judges the value of the technology, we will understand whether Nanox’s goals are ambitious.