A Low-Cost High-Quality Mobile X-ray Film Digitiser with Storage Facilities
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Digitisation of X-ray films reduces need for storage space and facilitates remote diagnosis, personal collections, teaching and publication. We describe a system that provides high-quality digitisation of X-ray films, especially suitable for low resource countries. The system comprises of a bespoke mobile cabinet with flat top-surface and lockable wheels, an X-ray viewing box, a small tripod, a good-quality digital camera and a computer with simple photo editing software. Compared to commercial digitisers, this system is much cheaper, uses local materials, provides employment for local people, is more physically and electrically robust and durable. It provides storage space, requires minimal training, and the components can be used for other purposes.
KeywordsDigitisation of X-rays Low-resource countries Low-cost Low-income countries
Digitisation of X-ray films reduces need for storage space and facilitates remote diagnosis, personal collections, teaching and publication [1, 2, 3, 4]. There are many commercial units available costing between USD10–20,000 excluding maintenance, servicing, repairs, software and training costs [1, 5]. Alternatively, satisfactory results may be obtained by expertly photographing an X-ray, mounted on a viewing box, using a hand-held digital camera [1, 4]. However, when using a wall-mounted viewing box, the image may be marred by reflections from sources of bright light, especially windows.
The cost would be about 1500–2000 US dollars, depending on the quality of materials, workmanship and camera used. For high-quality output, the camera must have a slot for mounting on a tripod; desirable features include a zoom lens and selectable ISO, aperture and exposure time. High-cost features such as small size, speed of focusing, number of frames per second and video capability are not required. Suitable examples include new or used entry-level digital SLR cameras such as the Nikon D3400 and Canon EOS Rebel T6 among many others.
The camera is attached to a tripod.
The tripod legs are inserted into the slots provided.
The viewing box is placed in its slot on the top of the cabinet.
The X-ray film to be digitised is placed on the viewing box and secured with the attached clips.
The lights in the viewing box are turned on.
The cabinet should be positioned to avoid visible reflections on the Xray film.
The camera is turned on and its lens zoomed in order to frame the desired image.
The picture is taken and image transferred to a computer for editing.
Compared to this low-tech manual device, a commercial unit may offer faster throughput with mostly unattended operation and smaller size .
However, this manual device is much cheaper, uses more local materials, provides employment for local people, is more physically and electrically robust and durable; is more mobile and also provides storage. Training costs should be minimal for individuals with basic education.
A further use of the device is digitisation of material written on a loose sheet of paper. The sheet is clipped onto the viewing box with its lights off, and photographed; flash may be deployed as necessary.
Lastly, the camera and other components can be used for other purposes when not required for digitisation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The author declares no conflict of interest.
Ethical approval is not applicable for this study.
Informed consent is not applicable for this study.
- 5.http://store.daylightmedical.com/vidar-diagnostic-pro-advantage-film-digitizer.html Accessed 13th June 2018.
- 6.http://www.vidar.com/film/diagnosticpro-advantage.htm Accessed 13th June 2018.