Imaging Technology in the 21st Century…

By: Omer Gulzar

Over this past week I had an assignment to present a quick overview of imaging technology to key stakeholders in our company. The following few words are my attempt to share the world of imaging technology as I see it over the next few decades.

After all the research I performed into imaging, it really astonished me how little the technology has changed from its introduction. It started with the advent of the X-ray in the 1900s. A simple concept that works on the basis of emitting radiation into an object and measuring the radiation that was re-emitted from that object to produce an image. This concept was propelled further in the context of the Second World War. Imaging technology as we know it today has really taken flight with its merger with digital displays. The digital world allows for easier contrast of the image and allows one to save and reproduce the image.

When the word imaging technology comes up, the first concept we (don’t worry, I am guilty of this too) tend to think about is medical imaging. However, there are multiple branches in this field such as:
• Geophysical
• Thermal
• Infrared imaging

Interestingly, all subdivisions work on the same basic principle. Take for example; geophysical imaging that uses radar pulses to image subsurface structures. It is used in a variety of fields including civil, municipal and military. In construction it provides a non-destructive means to detect weakness in foundations, pipes or the presence of important soil components within structures or below ground or water.

In my opinion this branch of applied science is only limited to the constraints we enforce upon it. On the other hand, it should be noted that we might have reached the functional limitations of the technology; we are in essence using the same concept of the technology as was used in the early 19th century. This begs the question why have we not amalgamated other novel technologies to complement the existing benefits of imaging?

Let’s consider 3D printing, combining the non-invasive method of detecting heart valve failure we could reconstruct specific portions of tissue that have collapsed. By basing our dimensions on images derived from M.R.I or C.T scans, we would be making substantial improvements. Let’s not limit ourselves and think out of the box, as this technology holds great potential.

Omer is currently at the University of Toronto finishing his undergraduate degree in Biotechnology. At the RIC he is undertaking an internship as a Bio-business intern, where he brings together his science based analytical skills and merges them with business development.

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