Radiographic exposure manipulation in the virtual environment.

Accurate selection of exposure factors when x-raying patients is of vital importance to ensure repeat exposures are not required. Due to the use of ionising radiation it is not possible for students to currently practice giving people a range of exposures to see what effect manipulation of exposure factors would have. Experience is currently gained by working alongside clinicians in the clinical environment. Feedback from students currently suggests that selection of exposure factors is an area where they feel they have insufficient practical experience. Giving students a tool where they can practice cause and effect on images dependant on exposure factor selection would enable students to develop necessary practical skills in a safe way.

A virtual x-ray environment is currently under development on Second Life, the aim of which is to enable undergraduate diagnostic imaging students to manipulate exposure factors for a chosen patient and body part. The resultant image will be displayed thereby enabling the student to gain skills in choosing accurate exposure factors. The student will be able to visualise whether their selected exposure factors, variables being kV, mA, time and distance, would have resulted in the image being under-,correctly or over-exposed. It is hoped that over time students will be able to select from a range of options e.g. gender, age, body build, body part.

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