Radiation is all around us and nowadays widely used. On average, we are exposed to 3 mSv per year. Every year, there has been a number of radiologist deaths associated with side effects of prolonged radiation exposure which make up 0.5% of the radiologists population. There are many other fields that work with radiation, some even in larger quantities. For example, the radiation of one full body CT scan is 10 mSv, while the 5 year limit for radiation workers is 100 mSv.
There are no current tools available for individuals to keep track of their radiation exposure to ensure that they are within the 100mSv safe limit before side effects are obvious. For intensive care patients, they might also need to undergo scans regularly and so will be exposed to the full extent of the radiation. This means that radiation exposure is very different case by case, and many medical sources have stated how unreliable online calculators are, since they are not personalized.
What it does
We built a hardware system that would be fitted in buildings to help individuals keep track of their radiation exposure. It uses an NFC reader to identify the person entering the room, and uses a Geiger counter to track radiation metrics. The Geiger counter is based on a Geiger Muller Tube (SBM20) mounted on a breakout board connected to an Arduino Mega 256. The output from the breakout board is used to drive an interrupt on the Arduino and send the reading via serial to a PC which has a python script that parses the input stream and uploads the reading data along with a timestamp to Cloud Firestore.
How we built it
We also built an app connected to the system that lets the user keep track of their own radiation exposure numbers with React and Firebase. The user would log in and see their current exposure level updated every minute, while we provide a historical graph below to show radiation levels over the past day. The metrics are in Clicks Per Minute, which can be easily converted to mSv. We provide an in-depth analysis on their radiation exposure and any steps they should take, taking into account personalized circumstances. Just for more information, we also provide a link to the national radiation network that provides radiation information from everywhere in the country
As a user, all I would need to make use of this system is their mobile phone and an NFC chip, which can be easily integrated in a name tag. This project would be cost efficient and to implement in medical institutions and radiation facilities, and would provide personalized metrics and peace of mind to those involved.
Challenges we ran into
Building a geiger counter. It's an interesting piece of hardware compared to typical circuit boards, but we were able to get it up and running, registering the correct amount of radiation. Getting the hardware to send live data to our database for our frontend. It took a bit of tinkering with Firebase but we were able to get it up and running.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Building a geiger counter and having a working demo, with all our team across the country from Texas to Florida.