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Rayflect - Reducing Physicians' Radiation Exposure

The Rayflict face shield uses specific materials to protect physicians who operate medical machines that emit ionizing radiation.

What it does

Physicians who use medical equipment that produces ionising radiation are at higher risk of brain cancer, thyroid cancer and cataracts. The Rayflect face shield helps to protect them while providing guidance to aid in positioning other shielding equipment.

Your inspiration

Fascinated by X-ray machines and medical imaging, questions arose while having an X-ray. This lead me down the path of investigating medical radiation exposure. I discovered that Physicians and staff, who operate medical equipment, that produces ionising radiation, are at higher risk or brain cancer, thyroid cancer and cataracts. My investigation lead me to discover that while various shielding equipment is available to staff, it is not always, or in many cases, does not provide adequate protection to the user's face and head. I wanted to create a solution that was desirable, provided feedback to the user and improved their experience.

How it works

The shell of the face shield is made from materials doped with specific elements to help attenuate radiation. Subtle lighting alerts the user when they are being exposed to radiation via dosimeters on the inside and outside of the shield. This helps to educate on best practice when positioning other shielding devices. These readings are recorded for future reference. A mouth seal, in conjunction with a positive air pressure system to remove fogging to the clear glass, allow for better lip reading and comfort. To avoid contamination, the visor can be raised or lowered by waiving a hand at the sensor on the side of the face shield. A cartridge holds the air pump, batteries, and PCB, this, along with airlines, can be removed to allow for sterilisation. At the end of the products life it can be broken down into individual components for recycling. Blue and orange colours have been selected to signify trust and courage between patient and physician.

Design process

Initially I investigated conventional x-ray, and ways to improve the process, after a conversation I found there was higher radiation risk in fluoroscopy. I was fortunate enough to get to watch two interventional procedures. From this I discovered that there was minimal head protection available to physicians. Using a polystyrene head and lights to simulate scatter radiation, I worked out where I needed to protect the physicians head. Through observations and interviews I gained a thorough understanding of the procedure timeline and was able to assign different features to the face shield to best aid physicians. Due to the density of the materials used to attenuate radiation the face shield would be reasonably heavy. I constructed a test rig with adjustable weights and found that while the total weight was important, balance was more important. Through sketch modelling I was able to resolve fitting the face shield to multiple people and finished on a design which uses air bags that inflate to snugly fit the shield to the users head. Through interviews with experts I found that lip reading was made difficult due to surgical masks, the clear screen allows for lip reading while the positive air pressure system prevents fogging and provides clean filtered air.

How it is different

Current head protection products available to physicians consist of leaded glasses, radiopaque caps, and other bulky exoskeleton type products. Due to the angle of the scatter radiation, leaded glasses and radiopaque caps offer limited shielding protection. While bulkier products provide good protection, they are expensive, cumbersome and restrict the physicians range of movement. Passive protection products are also available in the form of live dosimetry. While these products are great, they do not physically protect the physician. The Rayflect shield incorporates multiple features that assist the physician in completing their task. These include: - 0.07mm Lead Equivalent Protection - Subtle Radiation Indication - Live Dosimetry - Microphone & Speakers - Positive Air Pressure - Air Bag Fit System - Tilting Visor with Sensors - Weight Balance - Removable Components for Sterilisation - Emotive Colours of Trust & Courage - Removable Battery & Pump Cartridge

Future plans

I hope that The Rayflect Face shield continues to raise awareness around the risks of radiation exposure over a physician’s career. Feedback from experts showed that the product has potential and there is encouragement to move into more testing around the features and best materials used to attenuate radiation. The next step for the Rayflect shield would be to undertake detailed material studies, iron out any wrinkles within the features and move into more detailed task analysis regarding sterilisation and hospital sanitation standards.


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