Utah Company Helping to ID Tsunami Victims

Utah Company Helping to ID Tsunami Victims

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Ed Yeates ReportingThe effort to identify victims of the Tsunami now involves a Utah company with an important role. The company has a new device to help the Thai government put names on the faces of the dead.

Seven weeks have passed since tidal waves wiped out thousands of lives on the coastlines of Southeast Asia. And still, in Thailand alone, the government there continues identifying about a hundred corpses per day.

Dr. Clark Turner, ARIBA X-Ray Inc.: “The Thai royal police called us and said, ‘Please send us as many units as you possibly can.’”

What theThai Royal Police wanted is called the Nomad, a portable x-ray unit so new it hasn't even been approved yet by the FDA. A small company in Orem has just started making the device, and had only one prototype on hand when the Tsunami hit.

It was quite a challenge when the call came in. It is a start up company. They haven't even moved in yet. Even the assembly room isn't up and running yet.

Dr. Clark Turner: “So we are rapidly completing the design so that we can move into production phase. But these were built by myself and another technician rather than production people.”

What makes Nomad so unique? It's a portable, hand-held, battery operated x-ray machine you can take into the field. The Thai government is using it to image the teeth of the dead, mostly foreigners, which later can be matched to their dental records.

Dr. Clark Turner: "And they have set up temporary morgues where they bring the bodies from the field into a refrigerated area and then a forensic dentist on a relief team will go in and take the x-ray image."

Nomad has extra shielding to prevent radiation leakage. A back scatter shield protects the user taking many pictures each day.

Medical x-rays for traveling doctors or dentists treating patients in third world countries could help with identification and security checks -- the device potentially has many applications.

If the ARIBA company gets FDA approval, it will eventually gear up to roll up to 200 units per month off the assembly line.

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