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This X-Ray Detects Explosives and Tumors

The new device uses a deep-learning algorithm to identify materials based on texture.


Early detection is vital for combating cancer, so developing new ways to detect tumors is always a good thing. A recent MIT Technology Review article discussed a new x-ray technique that was developed to find concealed explosives, but can also catch tumors in humans. Traditional x-ray techniques struggle to find explosives inside electronics, but the new method, developed at England’s University of Surrey, was able to find them with 100% accuracy during tests.

The method employs artificial intelligence that identifies objects based on texture, even when hidden inside other objects. Beyond explosive detection, the team believes their technique also has medical applications. Though they haven't tested it yet, they think their AI could differentiate the texture of a tumor from surrounding healthy tissue, and even find tiny tumors that would otherwise go undetected behind a patient’s rib cage. “Cancer detection involves its own set of challenges and we look forward to seeing the work progress in this area in due course,” said Kevin Wells, Associate Professor at the University of Surrey.

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