Computed Tomography for Baggage Inspection
I think most folks are generally aware of GE Healthcare’s technology that helps doctors ‘look inside’ a person’s brain, thorax, or abdomen. For example, GE has imaging systems using magnetic resonance, computed tomography, 3D ultrasound, and positron emission tomography.
At GE Global Research, our lab is specifically developing what’s next in Computed Tomography – CT for short – a technology that uses X-rays to generate cross-sectional pictures of scanned anatomy.
Since its inception in the mid-1970s, CT technology has revolutionized healthcare. When is the last time you heard about an exploratory surgery? If you are young enough, you probably never have. The development of CT for medical imaging has been instrumental in reducing these unnecessary surgeries. But why scan a piece of luggage?
CT is just as useful for explosives detection systems as it is for medical imaging. By generating hundreds of images of a piece of luggage, it is possible to use advanced segmentation methods to combine images into volumes that can be evaluated as being a threat to passenger safety. Advanced computer-aided detection algorithms, such as those used for identifying tumors in humans, provide automated threat assessment. In addition, advanced visualization techniques help to generate renderings such as the one shown above, that allow us to virtually open the bag. Combined, these methods provide improved threat identification, reducing both the number of bags that need to be searched and passenger delays in airports.
The advances in medical imaging technology can directly impact products for passenger safety. We are leveraging two decades of technology development for healthcare to rapidly improve our products for airline-passenger safety. Specifically, we are leveraging multi-slice HiLight detector technology and Volara data acquisition systems from our medical products to provide systems with unprecedented performance for aviation security. Researchers in several labs here were instrumental in the development of both technology breakthroughs. Specifically within our lab, we’re working to enhance the quality of everyone’s life by improving diagnostics for early health and providing a safe environment for passenger travel.