Teenager Builds Homemade Fluoroscope That Takes DIY X-Ray Videos

Fluoroscopy is a type of x-ray photography that uses an x-ray source and a fluorescent screen to capture real-time moving images of something's insides. It's used mostly in medicine for procedures like surgical implants, angiography (imaging the insides of blood vessels), and investigating the gastrointestinal tract.

Outside of medical uses, it also takes care of any arguments that naysayers may have about the legitimacy of sword swallowing.

So how does it work?

A stream of electrons are shot at an anode, causing x-ray energy to be released. These waves are strong enough to pass through the human body (and all sorts of other things), and the difference in how many of the rays are absorbed by different kinds of tissue is what creates the details in the images. An image intensifier increases the brightness and a video camera captures it and converts it to a pattern of light that can be seen on the screen.

Believe it or not, someone found a way to DIY one of these. Using mostly parts he found on eBay and traded for, Jozef Bogin built a homemade fluoroscope that he's used to x-ray a Walkman, phone charger, and even his own hand. And he's only 19.

Images via

He used a beryllium window tube, green-emitting rare earth based screen, ZVS flyback driver, and triac phase regulator, and measured the radiation output with Geiger counters used by the Soviet and Czechoslovakian armies.

Images via

The setup produced a very high level (50 rads per second) from a close distance, making this an extremely dangerous experiment. Jozef says he'll never try it on any part of his body again.

You can read much more on the setup and radiation measurement on Jozef's blog.

A few months ago, a high school student put the finishing touches on another pretty impressive project: a portable x-ray machine. I doubt many of us are going to be making one of these at home anytime soon, but instead you could hack your Kinect into a virtual x-ray machine.

Have you ever had an experience with fluoroscopy?

1 Comment

Very cool have to try to make this with my son! Looks like fun!

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