A video game camera to calculate the radiation dose received by a worker
A project, conducted within the framework of a doctorate, allows the creation of a process to more effectively measure the rate of exposure to ionising radiation of workers evolving in an environment where this radiation must be monitored. This research, carried out in collaboration with the Belgian Center for Nuclear Studies SCK-CEN in Mol and under the supervision of Alain Seret (GIGA CRC / Faculty of Sciences) and Christophe Phillips (GIGA CRC / School of Engineering), is based on a technology that uses cameras used in video game consoles.
ome workers, for example in specific hospital departments, are exposed to ionising radiation. The measurement of this exposure is traditionally done by means of a dosimeter. The level of radiation must be closely monitored to remain below a well-defined threshold. In addition, a principle known as ALARA - As Low As Reasonably Achievable - states that a radiation dose should always be kept as low as possible. However, radiation doses are often difficult to measure, as dosimeters are subject to great uncertainty, especially in the inhomogeneous radiation fields found in hospitals. It was in response to this observation that Mahmoud Abdelrahman, a researcher at ULiège, wished to develop his thesis subject(1). The objective of the project, carried out in close collaboration with the Belgian Center for Nuclear Studies (SCK-CEN) in Mol, was to evaluate the feasibility of assessing radiation doses using numerical calculation methods. A method that could eventually resolve the accuracy limitations of dosimeters and that has found favour with the European Commission, which has granted the SCK-CEN funding to participate in the PODIUM (Personal Online Dosimetry Using Computational Methods) project alongside six other international partners. An innovative technology, using a video camera and numerical simulations, was developed to calculate the doses received by workers. This technology has been deployed and tested in two specific applications: interventional radiology and neutron workplaces.
These two workplaces are among the most complex and difficult areas of dosimetry, where there is a need to improve dosimetry assessments. In interventional radiology, physicians work in close proximity to an X-ray source used for imaging. The doctor's exposure to radiation depends on the actions performed during the procedure," explains Mahmoud Abdelrahman. The technology we have developed uses specialised cameras used in video games, for example - available to everyone and at a very affordable price - in which the doctor's actions are closely recorded. "The software developed by Mahmoud Abdelrahman combines this data with data on the radiation emitted by the X-ray machine, making it possible to calculate the radiation dose received during the operation. The first results were promising and the system proved the feasibility of the method," explain Profs Alain Seret and Christophe Phillips, researchers at GIGA CRC and academic co-sponsors of Mahmoud Abdelrahman's thesis. "In the near future, the specific doses to the organs of medical staff could be assessed with good accuracy using cameras and computer simulations. "This technology will allow medical staff in interventional radiology to optimise their radiation exposure. The system will continue to be tested and improved. The more powerful the computers and the more advanced the cameras, the better and more accurate the system can be. In addition, this new technology will soon be tested in other applications such as nuclear medicine and the nuclear industry in general.