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Massive New CT Scanner Assesses Car Crash Data

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the take-a-good-look dept.

Transportation 52

cartechboy writes "If you've ever been in a serious car accident, you've probably had a CT scan to give doctors a clearer idea of your injuries. Soon, your car might get a CT scan, too. Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a giant new CT scanner (dubbed, yes, XXL CT) that can scan very large objects, like cars. It Turns out a CT scan of a post-crash vehicle offers an unprecedented precision look at the internal damage details, without disturbing the wreckage further. A crashed car is hoisted onto a turntable, and as it turns, two X-ray detectors on either side scan it. Then multiple images are merged into a single, three-dimensional CT scan. The scanner also can handle airplane wings and shipping containers, which means there may be possible anti-terrorism uses in the future."

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if this scanner is like their best-known product (3, Funny)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#45064395)

Someone needs to develop a LAME version of the CT scanner to avoid licensing charges.

obligatory terrorism (1, Funny)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#45064517)

FTFS:

The scanner also can handle airplane wings and shipping containers, which means there may be possible anti-terrorism uses in the future."

Finally! Somebody is thinking of the children!

Re:obligatory terrorism (1)

camperdave (969942) | about a year ago | (#45065921)

Finally! Somebody is thinking of the children!

Yes! We'll finally be able to find out what makes Optimus Prime tick!

Re:obligatory terrorism (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#45073901)

Yes, why does he keep hanging around with children? Why do all the autobots like children so much, particularly since the decepticons don't seem to like them at all?

Maybe we have been fighting the wrong side!

Re:if this scanner is like their best-known produc (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about a year ago | (#45064581)

Someone needs to develop a LAME version of the CT scanner to avoid licensing charges.

How about one which detects those most likely to cause a government shutdown and flags then as unsuitable for public office?

we ran Ted through it.
and...?
it committed electronic suicide.

Re:if this scanner is like their best-known produc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45065629)

Assesses asses.

NDT for Cars (3, Informative)

GiganticLyingMouth (1691940) | about a year ago | (#45064443)

CT Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) has been done on airplanes for many years. Is this special or different in any way? Is the primary innovation just that it's being applied to cars now? The description in the summary makes it sound pretty mundane; "... hoisted onto a turntable, and as it turns, two X-ray detectors on either side scan it. Then multiple images are merged into a single, three-dimensional CT scan". This is pretty much the protocol for any industrial CT imaging.

Re:NDT for Cars (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#45064869)

True that.. We've been using X-Rays and Ultrasound in industrial processes for a LONG time, and some of these processes used the same technology in a CT scan where you post process the images to view things not easily seen in the original images.

One thing though... Most people are going to see the MRI machine these days anyway. CT scans involve X-Rays which are generally not seen as a good thing in large doses and CT Scans involve a lot of individual images so X-Ray exposure can be a factor. MRI has less radiation issues so unless you have magnetic materials in your body, you are getting an MRI..

Re:NDT for Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45067105)

Depends. If your doctor works in a practice that has or is associated with a facility that has a CT scanner, guess what you're a lot more likely to get? A coworker (Ann-Ec Dotal) goes to a doctor mill practice, she's had 3 CT scans in 2 years at the practice, plus another at an immediate care facility. Oh, and the last one at the practice was a rescan that the immediate care facility ran. All were inconclusive, but the time, expense, and ionizing radiation-developed film proves that they performed diagnostics!

Re: NDT for Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45074127)

CT and MRI are very rarely interchangeable. They measure entirely different processes and provide different information which is often suitable for entirely different clinical uses.

O and incidentally CTs are far far more common for many reasons (cheaper, faster, more suitable for radiotherapy planning, more suitable for big patients ....) MRI most certainly has an important role but if you think it is a replacement for CT your badly misguided.

Not at this scale it seems? (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#45067427)

This is probably news because it's bigger and/or faster than what was available until now. I don't really see anyone putting an entire wing on a platform and rotate it to do a scan right now. I'm imagining that a wing scanner is probably a "static" device where you slowly slide the wing through and it wouldn't be capable of scanning anything that doesn't fit through the opening in the scanner. By putting the scanners on the side of a platform, you could scale up without too much difficulty, compared to the "pass through the hole" method used now.

XXL CT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45064511)

Finally, a CT scanner for the whole population!

without disturbing the wreckage further. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45064539)

arent they hoisted by their own petard here , surely lift it up to place it in the scanner changes things?

Re:without disturbing the wreckage further. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45067043)

I don't think they'll be able to do much internal damage there, but one has to wonder, why would you need to scan a car? To find the missing wallet? You can pretty much see the damage from the outside.

Re:without disturbing the wreckage further. (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#45067931)

Except, of course, for the internal damage. Y'know, the damage that's inside the car. Where you can't see it. The clue's in the name.

Also useful for: (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#45064541)

Wal*Mart Customers
Americans
Your Mom

And by "anti-terrorism" uses (3, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#45064591)

We mean "anti-citizen" uses. Coming soon to a highway checkpoint near you.

Re:And by "anti-terrorism" uses (1, Interesting)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year ago | (#45064651)

Really? That's a "Troll"? Looks like somebody doesn't like admitting they're living in a police state.

Re:And by "anti-terrorism" uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45064925)

Really? That's a "Troll"? Looks like somebody doesn't like admitting they're living in a police state.

Not everyone does.

Re:And by "anti-terrorism" uses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45065417)

They already have deployable X-ray beams for running over trucks, and the drivers are forced to go through them. So not only is it not a troll, but something very similar is already happening.

Re:And by "anti-terrorism" uses (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about a year ago | (#45066737)

Looks like someone needs to indulge in less hyperbole, and more time on basic reading comprehension. (As in, look of the definition of 'police state' jackwagon. We aren't even close.)

Re:And by "anti-terrorism" uses (2)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#45064897)

I was thinking in similar lines.

But for me, "anti-terrorism" is more like "we want government subsidies for our project!".

Can find that dime bag faster than the K-9 unit... (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about a year ago | (#45068631)

and without the cops having to put their donuts down long enough to search the car by hand!

Nothing like the march of progress, right?

$20... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45064607)

... says these will soon wind up at every border crossing point across America.

Re:$20... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#45064889)

Already there I think... Right next to the radiation detectors.. We've been doing this for YEARS at the airport for baggage....

Also planned for NASCAR (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45064703)

To catch Jimmie Johnson's cheating. They also plan to CT Jimmie Johnson to figure out how he operates with no brain. He's dumber than spit. How will Cartman find a way to beat him? He needs to get poorer and stupidierest!

Really? (2)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#45064719)

Does someone really think they are going to take a shipping containers worth of terrorist bad stuff and move it to a multimillion dollar turntable to scan it? To quote the original article

"It works as follows: First, the object to be examined is hoisted onto a giant turntable."

Is the technology neat - sure. Is this useful for looking at all kinds of things and showing us engineering data that we other like - sure. Is this really useful to help against smuggling of everything from drugs to humans - sure. However the idea that this going to somehow be trotted out for a terrorism scare is just plain absurd.

Unless your already at the dock this isn't going to do you a lot of good. Any scanner big enough to hoist a shipping container onto it's turntable isn't likely going to be thought of as "portable". This technology would probably pay for itself in terms of man hours saved for custom officials as well as shippers and is probably well worth buying for that reason alone. All that being said, let's stay grounded and keep things firmly rooted in reality, okay?

Re:Really? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#45064911)

Does someone really think they are going to take a shipping containers worth of terrorist bad stuff and move it to a multimillion dollar turntable to scan it? To quote the original article

Nope, but perhaps it could be done as a container moves though a location on it's way out of the yard. No turntable required, just have them driven though... Of course you MIGHT want to give the drivers lead lined trucks or something....

Re:Really? (1)

calidoscope (312571) | about a year ago | (#45066073)

That won't work the way you think it would. What you're describing is a line scan, which gives a 2-D image of the container/truck, which has been deployed. A CT scan gives a 3-D image, necessitating some way of moving the x-ray source and detector around the container while the container is moved through.

There are a couple of reasons why the object being scanned is rotated on a turntable rather than the source and detector rotating around the object. First is the high energy X-ray source is friggin' heavy. The second is that having a stationary X-ray beam allows for concentrating the shielding in a relatively small volume and we're talking some pretty serious shielding.

Re:Really? (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about a year ago | (#45067725)

Note you can of course move the electron beam using magnetic fields and have a ring of target material around the subject to be imaged.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_beam_tomography [wikipedia.org]

That said there is a large amount of expertise in mechanically swept x-ray CT, and it would be perfectly possible to scale it up to truck sized.

Re:Really? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#45069421)

That won't work the way you think it would.

I'm not so sure. I seem to recall that my last CT scan involved only a table that moved me through the ring sensor in one direction. Judging by the sounds I was hearing there was something spinning around the ring. I assume this was the Xray source and a detector going round in there. So we do the same with containers being pulled by trucks by scaling up some. Sounds doable to me.

Re: Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45072861)

Nope your describing a normal CT machine but other geometries are possible. Google CBCT for one.

Scanners for containers already exist (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year ago | (#45067443)

Scanners for containers already exist. Rotterdam Harbour in the Netherlands employs these on a very large scale. They are in fact not turntable scanners, but you drive the whole truck in with the container on it. The driver gets out and the whole rig gets scanned. The turntable doesn't have a function for scanning shipping containers. It's only useful if you need a much higher resolution scan of something that doesn't easily fit through scanners that aren't purpose built to scan just one sort of object.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45067649)

Now now, let's not be disingenuous here. Integrating this device in a container dock workflow is certainly possible, if expensive.

It would entail building a large turntable level with ground level (like in a train shunting yard), fixed x-ray emitter and receiver towers, shielding installations around the whole thing (i would think some earth+concrete berms could do the trick), and of course having the driver get out of the truck after parking it on the turn table.

I can actually imagine this being quite a decent solution to smuggling of all sorts; import duties etc. would also be a heck of a lot easier to verify (or dispute, if the importer is allowed to get a copy of the scan).

Shipping container anti terrorism (4, Interesting)

OzPeter (195038) | about a year ago | (#45064733)

Currently around 10 million shipping containers arrive in the USA every year. So how many of these devices do you think you need in order to make an impact? Not only do you have that volume to deal with, but given the throughput at a multi-modal shipping port, you'll need to be scanning a container pretty damn quick in order not to impeded operations.

In addition the gubmint is already behind in scanning all shipping containers for radio-active materials. They are supposed to be checking 100% of inbound containers, but that has been costed in the order of $16 billion (with a pinkie finger, and a B), and there doesn't seem to be money for it.

Port security: U.S. fails to meet deadline for scanning of cargo containers [washingtonpost.com]

Re:Shipping container anti terrorism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45064811)

I'm not sure they could scan all shipping containers with this, CT scans use ionising radiation which would damage biological products (such as fruit). There's probably other materials it would damage as well.

Re:Shipping container anti terrorism (3, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#45064927)

Currently around 10 million shipping containers arrive in the USA every year. So how many of these devices do you think you need in order to make an impact? Not only do you have that volume to deal with, but given the throughput at a multi-modal shipping port, you'll need to be scanning a container pretty damn quick in order not to impeded operations.

In addition the gubmint is already behind in scanning all shipping containers for radio-active materials. They are supposed to be checking 100% of inbound containers, but that has been costed in the order of $16 billion (with a pinkie finger, and a B), and there doesn't seem to be money for it.

Port security: U.S. fails to meet deadline for scanning of cargo containers [washingtonpost.com]

Which is a good reason to call it "anti-terrorism". Because if there is anything that's getting assigned extra budget these days without considering actual effectiveness, it's that.

Re:Shipping container anti terrorism (1)

intermodal (534361) | about a year ago | (#45070691)

It's also a great way to be sure that any terrorists configure their bombs to be triggered by these machines, rendering them inoperable and hampering cargo operations.

I'm genuinely amazed that terrorists haven't blown up a ton of TSA checkpoints at airports just to cripple air travel. Screwing up infrastructure and inconveniencing people are the terrorists' bread and butter.

Hoisting a car doesn't disturb the wreckage? (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#45064817)

"It Turns out a CT scan of a post-crash vehicle offers an unprecedented precision look at the internal damage details, without disturbing the wreckage further. A crashed car is hoisted onto a turntable, and as it turns, two X-ray detectors on either side scan it."

My car was never in an accident but I'm pretty sure hoisting it up will cause something on my P.O.S. to fall off. I imagine it would be worse for a mangled car.

Re:Hoisting a car doesn't disturb the wreckage? (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about a year ago | (#45064961)

I've had cars like that.... One specific 65 VW Bug comes to mind... Cheap car, but you always had to b doing something to it...

Good luck with that car Joey.. Hopefully if you work hard, it will get better...

Re:Hoisting a car doesn't disturb the wreckage? (1)

bruce_the_loon (856617) | about a year ago | (#45067363)

Unless you've hauled the scanner to the accident site, the wreck has already being hoisted, dragged, dropped etc by the tow company. Any loose bits would have fallen off already.

What they are looking for isn't the loose bits, it's how the crumple zones collapsed inside the structure, what you normally cannot see without taking the car apart without cutting and bending bits of it to the point you might not be sure what was bent in the accident and what was caused by disentangling the mangled mess to have a look.

Good idea (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year ago | (#45064833)

Good idea unless someone turns that turntable to 78

Anti-terrorism scanning uses? Not so much. (1, Insightful)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | about a year ago | (#45064855)

Here's a scenario:

Create a bomb. Attach a trigger designed to be set off by (scanning of particular type). Ship by method scheduled to be scanned.

1) if it is not scanned, hey, you've got a bomb you can use! Win!
2) if the trigger fails, you've got a choice...
2a) the bomb was detected, disarmed, and tracked. Good luck hiding!
2b) the bomb wasn't detected, see 1).

or 3) the trigger works, the bomb detonates, demolishing the scanner.

Bombs are cheaper than scanners, and easier to replace. Win!

And while the scanner is down, port activity may be slowed or stopped. Win!

So if you send the bomb to some place you have no intention of picking it up from (say, an Amazon.com warehouse?), you are probably safe just watching the cargo container make its way to where your secondary trigger fires off. Or to the DEA warehouse for repurposing...

Re:Anti-terrorism scanning uses? Not so much. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45071669)

You can do the same with a GPS receiver, no need for a x-ray detector in your trigger. Just programm it with the coordinates of the harbour areal.

How much will one of these scans cost... (3, Interesting)

rnturn (11092) | about a year ago | (#45064907)

... and how high a mucky-muck will you have to be to warrant one of these scans? Is the the intent to find some kind of hidden damage that an insurance adjuster missed? And who pays for the CT scan? Just how valuable would the car need to be to deserve this kind of post-accident analysis?

The shipping container scan sounds like a good idea but the cost of these things would have to come way, way down before they got widespread use. If they aren't used at every port (because of the cost) the terrorists will just change their shipping destinations to ports that aren't equipped with these scanners.

Re:How much will one of these scans cost... (3, Interesting)

techno-vampire (666512) | about a year ago | (#45065177)

I'm only guessing, here, but it sounds like the main use for this is during crash testing of new designs. That way you can see just what happened deep inside of the car's body without having to cut your way in. And, while you're at it, you can also investigate what condition those parts that you'd otherwise have to cut are in, which just might tell you something important. I doubt that something like this would ever become part of routine accident investigation, both because of the cost of using it and because in most cases you don't need that detailed an examination.

Re:How much will one of these scans cost... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45068285)

after crashes or other incidents, they will be used by insurance companies, car manufacturers, and lawyers to produce test results favoring them, or are being paid to support, and ultimately, to screw over the common man.

would make a nice 3D scanner... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45065493)

probably

Be prepared to wait - I predict many lines... (1)

jpellino (202698) | about a year ago | (#45066233)

...at the Fraunhofer facility. Sorry. Couldn't resist.

Terrorism? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45066881)

How can we just accept the outrageous carnage that cars cause, while we cringe in fear from the tiny risks of terrorism? They are related prices of doing business in the car-centric world.

Meanwhile, in the scanning room... (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#45068277)

When the car is scanned, the operator asks its navigation device "does it hurt when I do this?"

Expect CSI episode to have a Massive CT scanner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45084283)

I can see the CSI episode where the characters are stumped by a car crash until they put the damaged car into a massive CT scanner.

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