When you get into forensic pathology you better be ready to see some bodies
Lodox makes full-body x-ray machines with low radiation emission and sharp detail of bone and tissue – a unique combination. SuperUltra is Lodox’s product design and commercialization partner, so we were thrilled when they asked us to help out on the world’s first digital radiology machine dedicated to forensic pathology. The new machine – called eXero-dr – is the result of over 5 years of work with forensics experts, particularly in medico-legal death investigations. It produces a 100 megapixel full-body x-ray image that shows bones and tissue - a remarkable new ability for forensics work.
An eXero-dr on the Lodox factory floor; freshly made and almost ready to ship (once they install that little panel next to the red button).
The machine is a pretty compelling combination of heavy metal and precision electronics. The C-arm, frame and all moving parts have to be super stable to create a clean image. The C-arm rotates 90 degrees to create a front-on or side-on view. Each full body image takes 13 seconds, which is radical speed for this kind of imaging.
The fit and finish is just incredible for a steel and fibreglass construction. The two loose plates on the head of the C-arm are mounted on switches to stop movement if there is an obstruction. The trolley self-guides and locks into place as it is pushed in. The bulk of this hardcore design and engineering was done by Lodox's own internal team. Our design and engineering work started from the basic naked machine and worked outwards.
There are only so many pictures that you're allowed to take in a morgue and those are far more than you really want to see. That's why we're showing you this hallway, so that we don't give you nightmares about what a body in a suitcase looks like.
Before there was eXero-dr, there was Statscan - the previous version Lodox ER machine. Lodox ran these in morgues for years to learn enough to create a totally forensics-focused machine. Notice the bag around the cushion? It turns out that liquids are a problem in morgues. One area of special attention for the new machine was creating a total liquid seal around all the lower areas. Yeah, liquids. And let's rather not discuss the x-ray images of people who've fallen from great heights.
One designer's feet during a morgue visit. The forensics guys are always keen to explain the technology involved and to show how they perform autopsy procedures. You would also rather look at your feet. Another interesting fact: They don't preserve the bodies - so that there's no contamination of evidence. That's why there's a funky smell that lingers. It's best to just burn your clothes afterwards.
Some CAD renders of the scanner and operating console. The design borrows a lot from our design of the Lodox xmplar-dr Trauma imaging device. That's the main reason the final product looks so much like the renders. That's pretty rare; reality usually goes beyond what the renders produce.
The hero shot captures the eXero-dr's awesome looks. We had all sorts of interesting ideas about colour but what we heard repeatedly is that forensics professionals like their gear to be functional, not flashy. We settled on this colour scheme with some LED light washing out from the rail area. Even that was a bit wild for the morgue staff but they were good sports and they let us get away with it. We're sure they'll come to like it in time...
The smart trolley. It's called that because it does a little automated dance while the C-arm is moving to prevent things bumping into each other. Again, a lot of attention to liquid sealing. The integrated handles not only look cool, they form a smooth wiping surface. This version takes 200kg with minimal deflection thanks to the carbon fibre construction. There is a thicker version that can handle 300kg.
An animated video of how the eXero-dr works. The high level of automation speeds up procedures but having the ability to scan bones and tissue in 13 sections in one full-body image means that a lot of investigative work can happen without having to surgically open the body. That's faster and safer, especially when disease or poison is involved.
Our reponsibilities for this project:
Our collaborators for this project:
Lodox internal engineering team
Lodox marketing team