Consumer Products – Yasunori Ohta, Naoyuki Nishino, Fujifilm Corp

Abstract for “Radiographic image capture apparatus”

“The radiographic imaging apparatus that configures the disclosed radiographic system includes at least one camera that images a main cassette. The camera can be integrated to both a radiation source or a control device.

Background for “Radiographic image capture apparatus”

Radiation conversion panels (radiation detectors) are widely used in the medical field to create radiographic images. They apply radiation to the subject and then guide the radiation through the subject to a radiation converter panel (radiation detector). There are two types of radiation conversion panels: a standard radiographic panel that records a radiographic picture by means of exposure and a stimulable panel that stores radiation energy and emits stimulated light. An image developing device receives the radiographic film with the radiographic image. An image reader device receives the stimulable-phosphor panel. It reads the radiographic image as a visible image and then displays it to the user.

It is essential to quickly and properly treat patients in an operating room. A radiation detector meeting this requirement has been created. It includes a radiation scanner of a direct type with a solid state detector for converting radiation directly to an electric signal and a radiation scanner of an indirect type with a scintillator that temporarily converts radiation into visible light, as well as a solid state detector for converting visible light into an electrical signal.

“The radiation detector is contained in a radiation-detecting cassette (cassette device), that is permeable.

“As described in Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. These radiographic image capturing devices were developed on the assumption they would be used to capture radiographic images from patients in hospitals.

“There is potential demand for radiographic images to be captured outside of hospitals. According to the art, radiographic image-capturing apparatus has been suggested. These devices are mounted on motor vehicles that are used for medical checkups. 2008-206740). These proposed radiographic image capturing devices mounted on medical checkup motor vehicle are however quite large. There is a need to capture radiographic images of people who have been affected by natural disasters or are receiving home-care services. Existing medical checkup motor cars cannot be used for these purposes as it is too difficult to transport them to disaster areas. Existing medical checkup motor cars can be used to drive to the homes of people who receive home-care services. However, image capturing is a time-consuming process that requires people to be transported from their homes to the vehicle to capture radiographic images. There has been a demand for small portable radiographic image capturing devices that can be used at homes receiving home-care services or natural disaster sites.

“A portable radiographic image-capturing apparatus has been invented, which can be folded into an compact form as a whole as described in Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 11-104117.”

“Problems that can be solved by invention”

It is easier to transport a radiographic imaging apparatus if it is smaller in size and lighter. The radiographic image capturing apparatus is carried by a doctor or radiological tech to a disaster location or home care treatment site. The radiological technician or doctor assembles the radiographic imaging apparatus at the disaster site.

Radiographic images are usually captured only by licensed doctors and other similarly qualified individuals who have been granted national licensure. Japan’s doctors and dentists are the only ones legally allowed to apply radiation to the body of a patient (to take a radiographic image) and radiological technicians in the medical field (hereinafter referred to simply as?radiological techs?). The Radiology Technicians Act. The Radiology Technicians Act states that a radiological technician or doctor who has the legal authority to apply radiation to a subject may be unable to travel to a disaster site or home care treatment site. A person other than a radiological technician or doctor, or someone who is not qualified to operate a radiological device according to the Radiology technicians Act, can take the radiographic image capturing apparatus to the site. A radiographic image-capturing apparatus may be taken to the site to perform preparations to prepare the apparatus for radiographic imaging. This includes positioning the body region to be imaged with respect to the cassette device. This operator is not allowed to take radiographic images of the subject using the radiographic imaging capturing apparatus. The current practice states that a radiological technician or doctor must accompany a radiographic image capturing apparatus to radiographically capture images of the subject at the disaster site or home.

“To overcome the above deficiencies, the technologies disclosed by Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2003-093354, and Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2008-206740 can be used to capture radiographic images. This is according to the instructions of a doctor, radiological technician, or another medical organization.

According to Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2003-093354: An image (radiographic) of an area of concern for an emergency patient (subject), is sent to a mobile terminal of a doctor not at the medical institution. The doctor is then asked to provide instructions on the next radiographic image that will be taken of the patient. The Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. If the technology described in Japanese Laid-Open Patent Publication No. 2003-093354 can be applied directly, the image of an emergency patient’s affected region, which is sent by the doctor to the mobile terminal to obtain the doctor’s instructions on the next radiographic image to capture, could be a radiographic picture that was taken without his approval. The doctor cannot instruct an individual at the site on how to take a radiographic image.

“According the Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2008-206740: The interruption of radiation exposure to a subject is based on an optical picture representing the subject’s body movement. Even if the Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2008-206740 could be directly applied, but the doctor cannot instruct anyone at the site to take a radiographic image in real-time.

“Object of Invention”

“The invention was made to address the above issues. The present invention aims to provide a radiographic imaging apparatus, a radiographic picture capturing system and a radiographic capturing method that can capture an image of a subject without the need for a doctor or radiological technician to travel to a disaster or home care site.

“Configurations for Invention”

“To attain the above objects, a radiographic imaging capturing apparatus according the present invention includes:

“Further, to achieve these objects, a radiographic imaging capturing system according the present invention includes:

“Furthermore to attain the aforementioned objects there is a radiographic image capture method that includes the following steps:

“Effects of Invention”

The camera is integrated with the controller or the radiation source device and captures at least one image of the cassette device at a disaster location or home care treatment site according to the invention. The waiting location communication unit receives the image from the camera and transmits it to the camera image communication unit. A doctor or radiological tech can wait at the waiting area and, while they are unable to see the subject, give instructions to the operator of the radiographic imaging apparatus. The operator will capture an image of subject in real-time based on the cassette device image that was received by the waiting place communication unit. Image capturing can be done with respect to the subject even though the radiological technician or doctor cannot travel directly to either the disaster site or home care treatment site.

“BRIEF DESCRIPTION DES DRAWINGS”

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG. 1;”

“FIG. “FIG. 1, 2 and 3;

“FIG. “FIG. 1, 2 and 3;

“FIG. “FIG. ”

“FIG. FIG. 6 shows an inside view of the radiation source device. 1;”

“FIG. “FIG. 1, 2 and 3;

“FIG. 8 shows schematically a matrix of pixels in a radiation detector.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. FIG. 10 shows a block diagram of a radiographic image-capturing apparatus. 1;”

“FIG. FIG. 11. is a block diagram showing a medical organization. 1;”

“FIG. “FIG. 1;”

“FIG. FIG. 13 is a flowchart that describes in more detail the image-capturing preparations made in step S5 in FIG. 12;”

“FIGS. 14A-14C show exemplary views of display screen of at least one console or a portable information terminal;

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIG. “FIG. 16 is a perspective of how a portable information terminal and a radiation source device are charged in a hospital;

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG. 22 is a perspective of a radiographic imaging apparatus and a radiographic images capturing system according a sixth modification;

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIG. 31A is a partial structure view of a radiographic imaging capturing apparatus;

“FIG. 31B shows an exemplary view showing a display screen for at least one portable information terminal or a console under the conditions shown in FIG. 31A;”

“FIG. 32A is a partial structure view of a radiographic imaging capturing apparatus;

“FIG. “FIG. 32A;”

“FIG. “FIG. 31A;”

“FIG. “FIG. 32A;”

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. FIG. 35 shows a perspective view showing a radiation source device. 34;”

“FIGS. 36A and 36B show partial structural views of radiographic image-capturing apparatuses;

“FIGS. 37A and 37B show perspective views of other configurations of FIG. 35;”

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. 39 is an explanation drawing that shows another configuration of the radiographic imaging capturing apparatus and radiographic image-capturing system of FIG. 38;”

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. 41A is an explanatory sketch showing schematically the internal structure of a cassette device according a fourteenth modification.

“FIG. “FIG. 41A.”

“DESCRIPTION DU EMBODOMENTS”

Below, we will describe in detail the radiographic imaging apparatus and the radiographic capturing system, as well as the radiographic picture capturing apparatus, according a preferred embodiment of the invention. 1. through 41B.

“Configurations for Embodiments”

“As shown at FIGS. “As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a radiographic imaging capturing system 11 according the present exemplary embodiment comprises a radiographic picture capturing apparatus 10. Radiographic image capturing apparatus 10, which includes a radio transmitter 16, a cassette device 22, as well as a controller, PC (controller).

“The radiation source 16 houses a radiation source 14 that emits radiation 12 and is made from a material that is transparent to radiation 12. The cassette device 22 contains a radiation detector (20 (see FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 respectively, to convert radiation 12 from a subject 18 into radiographic images. It is made of material that is resistant to radiation 12. The 34-bit portable information terminal (controller or PC) is connected electrically through a USB Cable 24 to the radiation source 16 and through a USB Cable 26 to the cassette 22. The portable information terminal 34 also contains a webcam 30 that can capture an image of a predetermined image capturing area 28. It is a portable terminal that can be operated by 32 operators (see FIG. 5) radiographic image capturing device 10. The portable information terminal 34 can send and receive signals from a 40-member medical organization (waiting area) via a 36 network such as a public network, or similar wireless communications.

Radiographic images are usually captured by licensed radiologists or doctors who have the same qualifications. Operator 32 is a person not certified as a radiological technician under the Radiology Technicians Act of Japan. More specifically, it refers to someone other than dentists and doctors (hereinafter referred to simply as “doctors”). and medical radiological technicians (hereinafter referred to simply as “radiological technicians”). who are legally authorized to apply radiation 12 on the subject 18

“Further according to the exemplary embodiment, subject 18 is present at either a disaster site (or a home-care treatment site), whereas doctor 38 (or radiological technie) 38 is waiting in a remote medical organization 40, where the doctor 38 cannot see the subject 18. The operator 32 travels to either the disaster site, or home care site to replace the doctor 38. Referral number 38 will be used in this document to signify a doctor.

“As shown at FIGS. “As shown in FIGS. The housing 42 has a surface known as an irradiated top 44. It faces towards the radiation source 16 and is irradiated by radiation 12. The cassette device 22 has guide lines 46 that are positioned within an irradiated region (irradiated zone) which is irradiated using radiation 12. This irradiated space is used as a reference area for image capturing and image capturing positions. As shown in FIG. 7, the outer frame (irradiated radiation field 12) is provided by the guide lines 46. 7 is nearly aligned with 20’s outer edge as seen in plan. A switch 50 is located on the 48th side of the housing 42 to activate the cassette device 22. Additionally, the connector 52 of the USB Cable 26 is attached thereto.

“As shown at FIGS. “As shown in FIGS. The radiation source device 16’s casing 130 houses the radiation source 14 and an irradiated lamp 56 that emits irradiation radiation light 54. The irradiated Field Lamp 56 applies radiation light 54 to the irradiated Surface 44, before the radiation source 14 emits radiation 12. This illuminates the irradiated radiation field 12 on the irradiated Surface 44.

“It is assumed that the straight line connecting a focus point 160 of the radiation source 14 with a central position 46, i.e., the point of intersection between the crisscrossing guidelines 46, is substantially parallel to the irradiated area 44 (see FIGS. 1, 2, and 7. 1, 2, and 7. The casing 130, through which the radiation light 54 passes, is preferably made of material that is permeable to it. As shown in FIGS. A connector 58 of the USB Cable 24 is attached to a side surface 130 of the casing 130, as shown in FIGS.

“As shown at FIGS. The portable information terminal 34 includes a small notebook-sized personal computer (PC), with an operating unit 60, such as a keyboard and mouse, on the upper surface (facing a lid 66) of a main body 62. A display unit 64, such as a display, is on the lower surface (facing 60) of the lid. The present embodiment describes a portable information terminal 34 of the notebook type. The portable information terminal 34 could be any type of portable terminal with different functions, such as the operating unit 60, display unit 64, and so on.

“When the portable information terminal 34 has been turned off, the main body (62) and the lid (66) are folded over each other around a shaft 68. Two hinges 70 connect to the shaft 68 at the ends. 16. The main body 62’s upper surface has two teeth 72 and the lid 66’s lower surface has two recesses (74) that correspond to the two teeth 72. The upper surface of main body 62 is brought in contact with the lower surface on the lid 64 when the portable information terminal 34 has not been used. In this case, the two teeth 72 are fitted into the recesses.

“In times when the portable information terminal 34 has been used, the lid66 is removed from the main body 64 around the shaft 68, and the hinges 70. This allows the main body 6 to be flipped away from the shaft 68, and the hinges 70. The main body 62 is folded in FIG. 16 to the operational position as shown in FIGS. 1 through 4.

“A power supply switch is located on the upper surface of main body 62, near the operating unit 60. Speakers (audio output unit), 78 and microphone 80 are used to detect voices of the subject 18 or 32.

On the side surface of main body 62 are USB terminals 84-88, 90 and a card slot (94), as well as an AC adapter input terminal (96). The USB terminal 84 is equipped with a connector 82 from the USB cable 24. The USB terminal 88 is fitted with a connector 86 from the USB cable 26. The connector of a unillustrated USB cable can be inserted into the USB terminal 90 to allow information to be sent and received via the USB cable. The cable for mounting a memory card 92 in the card slot is called “Card Slot 94”.

“A web camera 30 is placed on the upper surface 66 of the lid. It acts as an optical camera. The web camera 30 is integrated with the portable information terminal 34.

“Integral construction is not limited to FIGS. 1. through 4. In which the webcam 30 is integrated in the portable info terminal 34. However, this structure also includes a structure in that, at minimum at times when the radiographic image-capturing apparatus 10 is being used, the webcam 30 and the portable data terminal 34 are joined together (connected).

The web camera 30 can be used in conjunction with the portable info terminal 34 in any of the following scenarios (1) through (3). (1) The webcam 30 is connected with the portable information terminal 34 via a cable that is part of the radiographic image-capturing apparatus 10. (2) The operator 32 provides a cable that connects the web camera 30 to the portable info terminal 34. The portable information terminal 34 can be connected to the web cam 30 during the radiographic imaging apparatus 10, and the mobile information terminal 34 can be disconnected from the webcam 30 when the radiographic images capturing apparatus is being serviced.

The web camera 30 can be separated from the portable info terminal 34 in order to allow for the service of the radiographic image-capturing apparatus 10, such as maintenance, or when it is not being used. A coupling device, such as a clip, may be used to connect the webcam 30 to the portable data terminal 34. Only when the radiographic imaging apparatus 10 is in operation, the web camera 30 can be coupled to the portable terminal 34 using the coupling method. The coupling means can include a ball joint that allows the web camera to be attached to the portable information terminal 34. It also allows for the freedom to alter the orientation of the webcam 30. The web camera 30 must be coupled to the portable info terminal 34 via such a coupling device.

“If the webcam 30 and the portable info terminal 34 are connected by a cable, then the webcam 30 can be placed independently within the range allowed by the cable. The webcam 30 can also be positioned more freely than if it were integrated in the portable data terminal 34.”

“Concerning web camera 30: by turning the lid66 in relation to the main body62, the top surface of the lid66 is turned toward the cassette device 22 and radiation source 16 and the subject 18. Further, if operator 32 turns on power supply switch76, thereby energizing portable information terminal 34, an imaging region 28 is captured (region within the guidance lines 46 of radiation 12.) As shown in FIGS. 1. through 4. In a position where the subject 18 is between the radiation source 16 and the cassette 22 the web camera 30 captures an image capturing area 28 of a predetermined region that includes the radiation source 16, subject 18, and cassette device 22.

The web camera 30 captures an image of the image-capturing region 28 continuously and outputs a moving image (camera image) that is representative of the continuously captured optical images. The web camera 30 can also capture intermittently optical images of the image-capturing region 28 at certain intervals. It outputs a camera picture (still image), representative of either the intermittently captured optical photo or a camera imaging (still image), captured at a specific time.

“FIG. “FIG.

The radiographic image-capturing apparatus 10 in the present exemplary embodiment is referred to as a portable radiographic imaging apparatus. In which the webcam 30 and portable information terminal 34 are integrated with one another, it can also be called a radiographic image capturing device. Subject 18 will be the disaster victim or home-care-service recipient who is to be imaged to create a radiographic image of them.

“Returning the FIG. 1. The medical organization 40 contains a communication unit (waiting area communication unit, wireless communications unit), 104 with an antenna 102 that sends and receives signals from the portable information device 34 via the wireless network 36. An electrical connection is made between the console 106 and communication unit 104.

“The console 106 connects to a radiology data system (RIS), not seen. This generally manages radiographic images as well as other information that is handled in a radiological section of the medical organisation 40. The RIS is connected with a hospital information systems (HIS), which manages general medical information within the medical organization 40.

“The console 106 is located on a desk107 in a room in which a doctor 38 from the medical organization 40 is present.

“The console106 consists of a main body of 108 that can be used to perform various processing steps, an operating unit 114 for executing a variety of operations, a display device 112, an operating device 114, and a speaker 118. An exposure switch 120 allows for speech sounds to be output, and a microphone 122, which can input the voice of the doctor 38.

The display unit 112 displays predetermined images and information to the doctor 38. He is seated in a 110-seat at the desk. The doctor 38 operates the operating unit 114, which is a keyboard and the like. To capture an image of the doctor 38, the web camera 116 is mounted at the upper end of display unit 112. Doctor 38 can turn on the exposure switch 120 to cause radiation 12 to be emitted from the radiation source 14.

“As mentioned above, the portable information unit 34 and the communication device 104 send and receive signals to each other via wireless communications network 36.”

“The portable information terminal 34 can send camera images from the webcam 30, radiographic images via the USB cable 26, from the cassette device 22, (radiation detector 20, and voice signals representing the operator 32 or subject 18 input to microphone 80 through the antenna 102 from the medical organization 40 to communication unit 104 via wireless communications network 36.”

“On the contrary, the communication unit104 can send a camera image of the doctor 38 to the web camera 116. An exposure control signal is generated in the mainbody 108 based upon the doctor turning on the 120 exposure switch. A voice signal representing the doctor’s voice 38 to the microphone 122 and to the portable information terminal 34 via antenna 102, and to the network 36 through wireless communications.

Summary for “Radiographic image capture apparatus”

Radiation conversion panels (radiation detectors) are widely used in the medical field to create radiographic images. They apply radiation to the subject and then guide the radiation through the subject to a radiation converter panel (radiation detector). There are two types of radiation conversion panels: a standard radiographic panel that records a radiographic picture by means of exposure and a stimulable panel that stores radiation energy and emits stimulated light. An image developing device receives the radiographic film with the radiographic image. An image reader device receives the stimulable-phosphor panel. It reads the radiographic image as a visible image and then displays it to the user.

It is essential to quickly and properly treat patients in an operating room. A radiation detector meeting this requirement has been created. It includes a radiation scanner of a direct type with a solid state detector for converting radiation directly to an electric signal and a radiation scanner of an indirect type with a scintillator that temporarily converts radiation into visible light, as well as a solid state detector for converting visible light into an electrical signal.

“The radiation detector is contained in a radiation-detecting cassette (cassette device), that is permeable.

“As described in Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. These radiographic image capturing devices were developed on the assumption they would be used to capture radiographic images from patients in hospitals.

“There is potential demand for radiographic images to be captured outside of hospitals. According to the art, radiographic image-capturing apparatus has been suggested. These devices are mounted on motor vehicles that are used for medical checkups. 2008-206740). These proposed radiographic image capturing devices mounted on medical checkup motor vehicle are however quite large. There is a need to capture radiographic images of people who have been affected by natural disasters or are receiving home-care services. Existing medical checkup motor cars cannot be used for these purposes as it is too difficult to transport them to disaster areas. Existing medical checkup motor cars can be used to drive to the homes of people who receive home-care services. However, image capturing is a time-consuming process that requires people to be transported from their homes to the vehicle to capture radiographic images. There has been a demand for small portable radiographic image capturing devices that can be used at homes receiving home-care services or natural disaster sites.

“A portable radiographic image-capturing apparatus has been invented, which can be folded into an compact form as a whole as described in Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 11-104117.”

“Problems that can be solved by invention”

It is easier to transport a radiographic imaging apparatus if it is smaller in size and lighter. The radiographic image capturing apparatus is carried by a doctor or radiological tech to a disaster location or home care treatment site. The radiological technician or doctor assembles the radiographic imaging apparatus at the disaster site.

Radiographic images are usually captured only by licensed doctors and other similarly qualified individuals who have been granted national licensure. Japan’s doctors and dentists are the only ones legally allowed to apply radiation to the body of a patient (to take a radiographic image) and radiological technicians in the medical field (hereinafter referred to simply as?radiological techs?). The Radiology Technicians Act. The Radiology Technicians Act states that a radiological technician or doctor who has the legal authority to apply radiation to a subject may be unable to travel to a disaster site or home care treatment site. A person other than a radiological technician or doctor, or someone who is not qualified to operate a radiological device according to the Radiology technicians Act, can take the radiographic image capturing apparatus to the site. A radiographic image-capturing apparatus may be taken to the site to perform preparations to prepare the apparatus for radiographic imaging. This includes positioning the body region to be imaged with respect to the cassette device. This operator is not allowed to take radiographic images of the subject using the radiographic imaging capturing apparatus. The current practice states that a radiological technician or doctor must accompany a radiographic image capturing apparatus to radiographically capture images of the subject at the disaster site or home.

“To overcome the above deficiencies, the technologies disclosed by Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2003-093354, and Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2008-206740 can be used to capture radiographic images. This is according to the instructions of a doctor, radiological technician, or another medical organization.

According to Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2003-093354: An image (radiographic) of an area of concern for an emergency patient (subject), is sent to a mobile terminal of a doctor not at the medical institution. The doctor is then asked to provide instructions on the next radiographic image that will be taken of the patient. The Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. If the technology described in Japanese Laid-Open Patent Publication No. 2003-093354 can be applied directly, the image of an emergency patient’s affected region, which is sent by the doctor to the mobile terminal to obtain the doctor’s instructions on the next radiographic image to capture, could be a radiographic picture that was taken without his approval. The doctor cannot instruct an individual at the site on how to take a radiographic image.

“According the Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2008-206740: The interruption of radiation exposure to a subject is based on an optical picture representing the subject’s body movement. Even if the Japanese Laid Open Patent Publication No. 2008-206740 could be directly applied, but the doctor cannot instruct anyone at the site to take a radiographic image in real-time.

“Object of Invention”

“The invention was made to address the above issues. The present invention aims to provide a radiographic imaging apparatus, a radiographic picture capturing system and a radiographic capturing method that can capture an image of a subject without the need for a doctor or radiological technician to travel to a disaster or home care site.

“Configurations for Invention”

“To attain the above objects, a radiographic imaging capturing apparatus according the present invention includes:

“Further, to achieve these objects, a radiographic imaging capturing system according the present invention includes:

“Furthermore to attain the aforementioned objects there is a radiographic image capture method that includes the following steps:

“Effects of Invention”

The camera is integrated with the controller or the radiation source device and captures at least one image of the cassette device at a disaster location or home care treatment site according to the invention. The waiting location communication unit receives the image from the camera and transmits it to the camera image communication unit. A doctor or radiological tech can wait at the waiting area and, while they are unable to see the subject, give instructions to the operator of the radiographic imaging apparatus. The operator will capture an image of subject in real-time based on the cassette device image that was received by the waiting place communication unit. Image capturing can be done with respect to the subject even though the radiological technician or doctor cannot travel directly to either the disaster site or home care treatment site.

“BRIEF DESCRIPTION DES DRAWINGS”

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG. 1;”

“FIG. “FIG. 1, 2 and 3;

“FIG. “FIG. 1, 2 and 3;

“FIG. “FIG. ”

“FIG. FIG. 6 shows an inside view of the radiation source device. 1;”

“FIG. “FIG. 1, 2 and 3;

“FIG. 8 shows schematically a matrix of pixels in a radiation detector.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. FIG. 10 shows a block diagram of a radiographic image-capturing apparatus. 1;”

“FIG. FIG. 11. is a block diagram showing a medical organization. 1;”

“FIG. “FIG. 1;”

“FIG. FIG. 13 is a flowchart that describes in more detail the image-capturing preparations made in step S5 in FIG. 12;”

“FIGS. 14A-14C show exemplary views of display screen of at least one console or a portable information terminal;

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIG. “FIG. 16 is a perspective of how a portable information terminal and a radiation source device are charged in a hospital;

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG. 22 is a perspective of a radiographic imaging apparatus and a radiographic images capturing system according a sixth modification;

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIGS. “FIGS.

“FIG. 31A is a partial structure view of a radiographic imaging capturing apparatus;

“FIG. 31B shows an exemplary view showing a display screen for at least one portable information terminal or a console under the conditions shown in FIG. 31A;”

“FIG. 32A is a partial structure view of a radiographic imaging capturing apparatus;

“FIG. “FIG. 32A;”

“FIG. “FIG. 31A;”

“FIG. “FIG. 32A;”

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. FIG. 35 shows a perspective view showing a radiation source device. 34;”

“FIGS. 36A and 36B show partial structural views of radiographic image-capturing apparatuses;

“FIGS. 37A and 37B show perspective views of other configurations of FIG. 35;”

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. 39 is an explanation drawing that shows another configuration of the radiographic imaging capturing apparatus and radiographic image-capturing system of FIG. 38;”

“FIG. “FIG.

“FIG. 41A is an explanatory sketch showing schematically the internal structure of a cassette device according a fourteenth modification.

“FIG. “FIG. 41A.”

“DESCRIPTION DU EMBODOMENTS”

Below, we will describe in detail the radiographic imaging apparatus and the radiographic capturing system, as well as the radiographic picture capturing apparatus, according a preferred embodiment of the invention. 1. through 41B.

“Configurations for Embodiments”

“As shown at FIGS. “As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a radiographic imaging capturing system 11 according the present exemplary embodiment comprises a radiographic picture capturing apparatus 10. Radiographic image capturing apparatus 10, which includes a radio transmitter 16, a cassette device 22, as well as a controller, PC (controller).

“The radiation source 16 houses a radiation source 14 that emits radiation 12 and is made from a material that is transparent to radiation 12. The cassette device 22 contains a radiation detector (20 (see FIGS. 3, 4 and 5 respectively, to convert radiation 12 from a subject 18 into radiographic images. It is made of material that is resistant to radiation 12. The 34-bit portable information terminal (controller or PC) is connected electrically through a USB Cable 24 to the radiation source 16 and through a USB Cable 26 to the cassette 22. The portable information terminal 34 also contains a webcam 30 that can capture an image of a predetermined image capturing area 28. It is a portable terminal that can be operated by 32 operators (see FIG. 5) radiographic image capturing device 10. The portable information terminal 34 can send and receive signals from a 40-member medical organization (waiting area) via a 36 network such as a public network, or similar wireless communications.

Radiographic images are usually captured by licensed radiologists or doctors who have the same qualifications. Operator 32 is a person not certified as a radiological technician under the Radiology Technicians Act of Japan. More specifically, it refers to someone other than dentists and doctors (hereinafter referred to simply as “doctors”). and medical radiological technicians (hereinafter referred to simply as “radiological technicians”). who are legally authorized to apply radiation 12 on the subject 18

“Further according to the exemplary embodiment, subject 18 is present at either a disaster site (or a home-care treatment site), whereas doctor 38 (or radiological technie) 38 is waiting in a remote medical organization 40, where the doctor 38 cannot see the subject 18. The operator 32 travels to either the disaster site, or home care site to replace the doctor 38. Referral number 38 will be used in this document to signify a doctor.

“As shown at FIGS. “As shown in FIGS. The housing 42 has a surface known as an irradiated top 44. It faces towards the radiation source 16 and is irradiated by radiation 12. The cassette device 22 has guide lines 46 that are positioned within an irradiated region (irradiated zone) which is irradiated using radiation 12. This irradiated space is used as a reference area for image capturing and image capturing positions. As shown in FIG. 7, the outer frame (irradiated radiation field 12) is provided by the guide lines 46. 7 is nearly aligned with 20’s outer edge as seen in plan. A switch 50 is located on the 48th side of the housing 42 to activate the cassette device 22. Additionally, the connector 52 of the USB Cable 26 is attached thereto.

“As shown at FIGS. “As shown in FIGS. The radiation source device 16’s casing 130 houses the radiation source 14 and an irradiated lamp 56 that emits irradiation radiation light 54. The irradiated Field Lamp 56 applies radiation light 54 to the irradiated Surface 44, before the radiation source 14 emits radiation 12. This illuminates the irradiated radiation field 12 on the irradiated Surface 44.

“It is assumed that the straight line connecting a focus point 160 of the radiation source 14 with a central position 46, i.e., the point of intersection between the crisscrossing guidelines 46, is substantially parallel to the irradiated area 44 (see FIGS. 1, 2, and 7. 1, 2, and 7. The casing 130, through which the radiation light 54 passes, is preferably made of material that is permeable to it. As shown in FIGS. A connector 58 of the USB Cable 24 is attached to a side surface 130 of the casing 130, as shown in FIGS.

“As shown at FIGS. The portable information terminal 34 includes a small notebook-sized personal computer (PC), with an operating unit 60, such as a keyboard and mouse, on the upper surface (facing a lid 66) of a main body 62. A display unit 64, such as a display, is on the lower surface (facing 60) of the lid. The present embodiment describes a portable information terminal 34 of the notebook type. The portable information terminal 34 could be any type of portable terminal with different functions, such as the operating unit 60, display unit 64, and so on.

“When the portable information terminal 34 has been turned off, the main body (62) and the lid (66) are folded over each other around a shaft 68. Two hinges 70 connect to the shaft 68 at the ends. 16. The main body 62’s upper surface has two teeth 72 and the lid 66’s lower surface has two recesses (74) that correspond to the two teeth 72. The upper surface of main body 62 is brought in contact with the lower surface on the lid 64 when the portable information terminal 34 has not been used. In this case, the two teeth 72 are fitted into the recesses.

“In times when the portable information terminal 34 has been used, the lid66 is removed from the main body 64 around the shaft 68, and the hinges 70. This allows the main body 6 to be flipped away from the shaft 68, and the hinges 70. The main body 62 is folded in FIG. 16 to the operational position as shown in FIGS. 1 through 4.

“A power supply switch is located on the upper surface of main body 62, near the operating unit 60. Speakers (audio output unit), 78 and microphone 80 are used to detect voices of the subject 18 or 32.

On the side surface of main body 62 are USB terminals 84-88, 90 and a card slot (94), as well as an AC adapter input terminal (96). The USB terminal 84 is equipped with a connector 82 from the USB cable 24. The USB terminal 88 is fitted with a connector 86 from the USB cable 26. The connector of a unillustrated USB cable can be inserted into the USB terminal 90 to allow information to be sent and received via the USB cable. The cable for mounting a memory card 92 in the card slot is called “Card Slot 94”.

“A web camera 30 is placed on the upper surface 66 of the lid. It acts as an optical camera. The web camera 30 is integrated with the portable information terminal 34.

“Integral construction is not limited to FIGS. 1. through 4. In which the webcam 30 is integrated in the portable info terminal 34. However, this structure also includes a structure in that, at minimum at times when the radiographic image-capturing apparatus 10 is being used, the webcam 30 and the portable data terminal 34 are joined together (connected).

The web camera 30 can be used in conjunction with the portable info terminal 34 in any of the following scenarios (1) through (3). (1) The webcam 30 is connected with the portable information terminal 34 via a cable that is part of the radiographic image-capturing apparatus 10. (2) The operator 32 provides a cable that connects the web camera 30 to the portable info terminal 34. The portable information terminal 34 can be connected to the web cam 30 during the radiographic imaging apparatus 10, and the mobile information terminal 34 can be disconnected from the webcam 30 when the radiographic images capturing apparatus is being serviced.

The web camera 30 can be separated from the portable info terminal 34 in order to allow for the service of the radiographic image-capturing apparatus 10, such as maintenance, or when it is not being used. A coupling device, such as a clip, may be used to connect the webcam 30 to the portable data terminal 34. Only when the radiographic imaging apparatus 10 is in operation, the web camera 30 can be coupled to the portable terminal 34 using the coupling method. The coupling means can include a ball joint that allows the web camera to be attached to the portable information terminal 34. It also allows for the freedom to alter the orientation of the webcam 30. The web camera 30 must be coupled to the portable info terminal 34 via such a coupling device.

“If the webcam 30 and the portable info terminal 34 are connected by a cable, then the webcam 30 can be placed independently within the range allowed by the cable. The webcam 30 can also be positioned more freely than if it were integrated in the portable data terminal 34.”

“Concerning web camera 30: by turning the lid66 in relation to the main body62, the top surface of the lid66 is turned toward the cassette device 22 and radiation source 16 and the subject 18. Further, if operator 32 turns on power supply switch76, thereby energizing portable information terminal 34, an imaging region 28 is captured (region within the guidance lines 46 of radiation 12.) As shown in FIGS. 1. through 4. In a position where the subject 18 is between the radiation source 16 and the cassette 22 the web camera 30 captures an image capturing area 28 of a predetermined region that includes the radiation source 16, subject 18, and cassette device 22.

The web camera 30 captures an image of the image-capturing region 28 continuously and outputs a moving image (camera image) that is representative of the continuously captured optical images. The web camera 30 can also capture intermittently optical images of the image-capturing region 28 at certain intervals. It outputs a camera picture (still image), representative of either the intermittently captured optical photo or a camera imaging (still image), captured at a specific time.

“FIG. “FIG.

The radiographic image-capturing apparatus 10 in the present exemplary embodiment is referred to as a portable radiographic imaging apparatus. In which the webcam 30 and portable information terminal 34 are integrated with one another, it can also be called a radiographic image capturing device. Subject 18 will be the disaster victim or home-care-service recipient who is to be imaged to create a radiographic image of them.

“Returning the FIG. 1. The medical organization 40 contains a communication unit (waiting area communication unit, wireless communications unit), 104 with an antenna 102 that sends and receives signals from the portable information device 34 via the wireless network 36. An electrical connection is made between the console 106 and communication unit 104.

“The console 106 connects to a radiology data system (RIS), not seen. This generally manages radiographic images as well as other information that is handled in a radiological section of the medical organisation 40. The RIS is connected with a hospital information systems (HIS), which manages general medical information within the medical organization 40.

“The console 106 is located on a desk107 in a room in which a doctor 38 from the medical organization 40 is present.

“The console106 consists of a main body of 108 that can be used to perform various processing steps, an operating unit 114 for executing a variety of operations, a display device 112, an operating device 114, and a speaker 118. An exposure switch 120 allows for speech sounds to be output, and a microphone 122, which can input the voice of the doctor 38.

The display unit 112 displays predetermined images and information to the doctor 38. He is seated in a 110-seat at the desk. The doctor 38 operates the operating unit 114, which is a keyboard and the like. To capture an image of the doctor 38, the web camera 116 is mounted at the upper end of display unit 112. Doctor 38 can turn on the exposure switch 120 to cause radiation 12 to be emitted from the radiation source 14.

“As mentioned above, the portable information unit 34 and the communication device 104 send and receive signals to each other via wireless communications network 36.”

“The portable information terminal 34 can send camera images from the webcam 30, radiographic images via the USB cable 26, from the cassette device 22, (radiation detector 20, and voice signals representing the operator 32 or subject 18 input to microphone 80 through the antenna 102 from the medical organization 40 to communication unit 104 via wireless communications network 36.”

“On the contrary, the communication unit104 can send a camera image of the doctor 38 to the web camera 116. An exposure control signal is generated in the mainbody 108 based upon the doctor turning on the 120 exposure switch. A voice signal representing the doctor’s voice 38 to the microphone 122 and to the portable information terminal 34 via antenna 102, and to the network 36 through wireless communications.

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