Did you build anything cool in high school? Maybe a sweet model volcano or a light bulb powered by a potato? That’s nice and all, but a Pakistani high school student recently built a portable x-ray machine. If that wasn’t impressive enough, portable x-ray machines didn’t exist before. Your parents are retroactively disappointed in your potato battery now.
At the age of 15, Adam Munich was chatting with some folks online and heard a pair of stories. One about rolling blackouts, and another about the unavailability of x-ray equipment in remote areas. This is how the idea of a battery-operated x-ray machine came to Munich. He spent the next two years learning about x-ray technology and building his device in a pair of old art cases.
The final device is separated into two parts. There is a control box that houses all the electronics, and a second case that contains the x-ray tube, the high-voltage capacitors, and voltage multipliers that drive it. The capacitors step up the power to 75,000 volts, which is just enough to produce a usable x-ray beam.
Images are produced here with the aid of a scintillation screen, which is a plastic sheet that fluoresces green when struck with x-rays. This is a less ideal setup, but it costs next to nothing compared to the expensive radiation detectors used in hospitals. While the device should work on human limbs, Munich has thus far been testing it on various electronic devices.
You might be wondering about safety with a device built by a student that shoots radiation. Well, Munich also built his own Geiger counter to make sure the device doesn’t do more harm than good. He spent about $700 over 2 years building the device, and is currently working to get the cost down to $200. For now, its main use is getting young Mr. Munich into college. I’m sure he’ll do fine. He’s smarter than most of us.
No comments yet.
Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Trackbacks are disabled.