Many X-rays Are Better Than One

Experimental GE CT scanner gives a lower dose of radiation with more X-ray sources

3 min read
Many X-rays Are Better Than One

28 July 2010—The risk of getting cancer from CT scanners is still controversial in the medical community. But the equipment is being used more than ever: More than 70 million CT scans were performed in the United States in 2007. So scanner manufacturers and radiologists are devising new ways to reduce patients’ radiation exposure. Until now, the focus has been on software tricks that get cleaner images from smaller doses. But researchers at GE Global Research in Niskayuna, N.Y., and Stanford University have recently come up with a new scanner design that they say could reduce the needed radiation by up to 70 percent. Their design flips the conventional CT scanner design on its head.

Today’s machines contain one or two X-ray sources and a large arc-shaped detector opposite the sources. The sources and detectors revolve around the patient as a unit, taking multiple images that are put together to give a cross-section or 3-D picture of the body structure.

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Are You Ready for Workplace Brain Scanning?

Extracting and using brain data will make workers happier and more productive, backers say

11 min read
A photo collage showing a man wearing a eeg headset while looking at a computer screen.
Nadia Radic

Get ready: Neurotechnology is coming to the workplace. Neural sensors are now reliable and affordable enough to support commercial pilot projects that extract productivity-enhancing data from workers’ brains. These projects aren’t confined to specialized workplaces; they’re also happening in offices, factories, farms, and airports. The companies and people behind these neurotech devices are certain that they will improve our lives. But there are serious questions about whether work should be organized around certain functions of the brain, rather than the person as a whole.

To be clear, the kind of neurotech that’s currently available is nowhere close to reading minds. Sensors detect electrical activity across different areas of the brain, and the patterns in that activity can be broadly correlated with different feelings or physiological responses, such as stress, focus, or a reaction to external stimuli. These data can be exploited to make workers more efficient—and, proponents of the technology say, to make them happier. Two of the most interesting innovators in this field are the Israel-based startup InnerEye, which aims to give workers superhuman abilities, and Emotiv, a Silicon Valley neurotech company that’s bringing a brain-tracking wearable to office workers, including those working remotely.

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