Partnership develops mobile CT scanner for ambulances
Partnership develops mobile CT scanner for ambulances

It’s hoped the device could provide faster stroke diagnosis at the point of care. Treatment of stroke is time critical, with the “golden hour” the vital time window after stroke onset for receiving diagnosis and treatment to give patients the best chance of survival and recovery.

The introduction of a small CT scanner into ambulances could ensure the appropriate treatment can be provided earlier. Micro-X’s ‘Ring Scanner’ technology aims to provide comparable diagnostic imaging to a conventional head CT scanner in a unit intentionally designed to be small enough and at a price point where one can be fitted in every ambulance. 

The ‘Ring Scanner’ will also be light enough to be deployed in fixed or rotary wing air ambulances.

Dr Nyein Chan Aung, senior design research officer, Monash Design Health Collab part of the Faculty of Art Design & Architecture, Monash University is designing the device in partnership with Micro-X, an Adelaide-based company working as part of the Australian Stroke Alliance. 

Dr Aung said: “The lightweight and compact design of the stroke imager will change the way we respond to stroke emergencies by allowing medical professionals to image, diagnose and treat faster than ever.

“It will also significantly help increase the prevalence of mobile stroke units in Australia and around the world. We believe the scanner will improve the outcomes of stroke patients significantly.

“Design is the interface between technology and the user. The Monash Design Health Collab team is using design research methods to understand the user behaviour of medical professionals profoundly and to respond with design interventions that will streamline the usability of our mobile stroke imaging technology - down to the second.” 

Micro-X, a member of the Australian Stroke Alliance, has been successful in conducting a feasibility phase on their ‘Ring Scanner’ concept with stage 1 funding. The alliance is now pitching for a share of the Frontier Health and Medical Research initiative funded by the Federal Government Medical Research Future Fund to bring this product to market.

Peter Rowland, managing director of Micro-X, said: “Micro-X is thrilled to be part of the Stroke Alliance’s bid to revolutionise stroke treatment. As a successful manufacturer of innovative health imaging technology, we are committed to turning bold ideas into global impact.

“We believe so much in this project and have invested in research and global partnerships to ensure we can develop high-quality brain images that detect small brain bleeds - all packaged in a device that can be fitted into any ambulance or aircraft. 

“Winning the next stage of funding for this exciting project will not only improve the health outcomes of thousands of Australians, but also have an enormous economic benefit through job creation in manufacturing and research development.”

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