Nanox’s new X-ray machine resembles Star Trek’s medical bed

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), two-thirds of the world’s population can’t afford an X-ray scan. The top medical systems in the world cost between $1-3 million, closing off critical preventative services to billions. And many people have to wait for weeks or months before they can see their diagnostic results. 

Companies like Nanox believe there is a better way. The Gibraltar-based medical device firm recently announced a new X-ray machine that is far less costly to manufacture. As a result, Nanox can sell its Nanox.ARC device at a much lower cost, enabling healthcare practitioners to reduce the cost burden on patients. The intended five-figure price tag will cut overall system costs by several orders of magnitude. 

The Sci-fi Medical Bed of the Future is Here

Traditional X-ray techniques and machines involve bulky infrastructure. Many rely on arrays of large rotating tubes. The superheated filament in conventional X-ray machine models also requires manufacturers to invest millions of dollars to ensure patients are safe during procedures. The upfront cost of designing and building X-ray machines forces medical device companies to pass on high costs per scan to patients, physicians, and insurers. 

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Nanox’s machine, on the other hand, uses stationary tubes and a digital system that is much more compact and less expensive. The only moving piece is a gantry that holds the X-ray ring as it moves laterally across patients’ bodies.

According to Nanox’s website, it took the team eight years to develop the current version of the machine, which resembles a futuristic medical bed that you would expect to see on space travel television shows. Compared to analog systems, Nanox.ARC is sleek and simple.

Bigger Plans Beyond the Nanox.ARC

Nanox is also pushing a disruptive business model along with its revolutionary X-ray machine. Rather than charge clients a one-time purchase fee, the company is exploring a pay-per-scan model. Clinics and hospitals would only pay when they use the machine. In addition to the actual scanning technology, Nanox would also provide AI-based analysis and cloud services. 

The company is making major progress on its mission to democratize access to important preventative medical services and procedures. Nanox’s leaders want to distribute 15,000 units in the “near term.” They envision a future in which every person gets a diagnostic X-ray scans on an annual basis. Foxconn recently wrote a $26 million check to Nanox to help the medical device disruptor bring its exciting vision to life. 

The Decade for Health Tech

The 2020s promise to produce a slew of game-changing health tech products and services. At this year’s CES event in Las Vegas, we learned about smart bathmats and AI-enabled automated external defibrillators (AED). 

TIME also included a handheld meditation instructor in its list of the top 25 best gadgets from the conference. Dimension Robotics is helping stroke victims take accountability over their care at home with its Dr. CaRo gadget.

Over the next decade, it’s clear that we will have better visibility into how our bodies are performing, as well as more accountability over our personal health than ever before. The question is what we will do with this power. Because we all know, “with great power comes great responsibility.” 

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