Australian made lightweight x-ray machine earns National Innovation Award


Micro-X’s lightweight, ruggedised x-ray machine for field hospital deployment has won the Land Forces 2021 National Innovation Award.

The 95 kilogram Rover improves on regular x-ray machines, which can weigh between 400 – 600 kilograms and are power hungry and hard to manoeuvre. The Micro-X machine is powered by a 5 kilogram battery, giving 10 hours of operating life.

The main innovation making the weight saving possible are carbon nanotube-based emitters pioneered by Micro-X, which weigh 1.5 kilograms versus 20 kilograms for a regular X-ray tube.

Prior to Rover, only veterinary x-ray machines were light enough to be used by the military.

“Defence was looking for ways to bring the standard of deployable imaging up to that of first-tier acute hospitals and in 2016 we were contracted to see if our unique CNT x-ray technology could achieve this,” said Peter Rowland, Micro-X Managing Director. 

“The tests were completely successful and we showed that we could meet all the general radiology needs of  a NATO Role 3 deployed medical facility. Product development followed trials at Enoggera Barracks in Queensland and with the US Army at Fort Detrick in Maryland we released Rover in 2020” 

“Now we are under contract to supply Rover into the ADF’s new deployable medical facility as part of JP2060 – Phase 3 and the World Health Organisation has also bought Rovers for use in Pacific nations. We have FDA clearance and now our sights are on selling to other armed forces’ deployable hospitals, particularly the US where we will be conducting evaluation trials on bases later this year.”

The award presentation will be at the Brisbane Land Forces expo, which will run from 1 – 3 June.

Picture: supplied

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