Automated and observer based light field indicator edge evaluation in diagnostic X-ray equipment

Abstract Introduction To analyze edge detection and optical contrast calculation of light field-indicators used in X-ray via automated- and observer-based methods, and comparison with current standard approaches, which do not give exact definition for light field edge determination. Methods Automated light sensor array was used to measure the penumbra zone of the edge in the standard X-ray equipment, while trained and naïve human observers were asked to mark the light field edge according to their own determination. Different interpretations of the contrast were then calculated and compared. Results In contrast to automated measurements of edge definition and detection, measurements by human observers showed large inter-observer variation independent of their training with X-ray equipment. Different contrast calculations considering the different edge definitions gave very different contrast values. Conclusion As the main conclusion, we propose a more exact edge definition of the X-ray light field, corresponding well to the average human observer’s edge determination. The new edge definition method with automated systems would reduce human variability in edge determination. Such errors could potentially affect the approval of X-ray equipment, and also increase the radiation dose. The automated measurement based on human observers’ edge definition and the corresponding contrast calculation may lead to a more precise light field calibration, which enables reduced irradiation doses on radiology patients.