X-ray Xbee

Craft & Design Technology
X-ray Xbee


David Cranor put an Xbee radio in a CT scanner. Check out the closeup of the antenna!

12 thoughts on “X-ray Xbee

  1. theophrastus says:

    That’s really cool and unexpected (by me, at any rate). Immediately raises other questions.

    Why only 3/4rds of a Hilbert curve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert_curve) for that square plane, (is somehow the effective length of 0.75 the quarter wavelength?)

    So where’s the publication: “RF radiation from Regular Fractal Surfaces”?

    …very interesting, thread, thank you.

    1. Capn says:

      HA! I was going to point out that that was a Hilbert Curve as well.

  2. Andrew Odewahn says:

    Cool — This king of fractal antenna (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_antenna) has been around for a while. The inventor (not sure who) proved that almost any sort of self-similar curve that fills a plane will provide the best possible reception.

    The patent doc for the original fractal antenna has some cool examples:


    Also, the PBS series Nova did an episode about fractals that described how they were invented:


  3. Andrew Odewahn says:

    ps — I meant to type “this *kind* of fractal antenna,” but I think I actually like “king” better…

  4. rdarlington.myopenid.com says:

    In the future, consider using a styrofoam cup to support the PCB. They’re nearly transparent to x-rays. Also it looks like you need a little more filter material to cut down the softer x-rays, perhaps some .030″ copper sheet in front of the source as well as normalizing against a light and dark frame. Overall it’s not a bad scan but could be tweaked quite a bit. What was the tube set at?

  5. X-ray Xbee Jordan Husney says:

    I’m an Engineer at Digi (makers of the XBee). We passed this link around the office today.

    I thought I’d point out that this is the old ceramic chip antenna. We have a new fractal-based antenna on our XBee S2B (the new Series 2 design) and S2C (surface mount) radios with much improved performance over the chip antenna.

    Our antenna design wizard tells me the old antenna gave -4.5 dB gain. The new one gives -1.8dB gain and has an extremely similar radiation pattern. It’s seriously rad! We’d love to see you take a new x-ray!


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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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