Beacon teardown

At the AAPM 2018 annual meeting, attendees received a BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) beacon that was used to track attendance at sessions for continuing education and SAM (Self Assessment Module) credits.

Little blue beacon
Little blue beacon
Little blue beacon
Little blue beacon

The website stamped on the beacon redirects to a company called Gimbal where you can purchase the beacons for $5 each or get a whole case of 1650 for the same unit price.  They also provide web based software for managing the beacons.  The manual for the beacon contains some specs, instructions for using the beacon with the Gimbal software, and links to API docs for creating apps to use with the beacon.

The beacon opens pretty easily using a quarter.  Most of the beacon’s innards are taken up by a CR2032 coin cell that powers a tiny little circuit board underneath a plastic cover.

Beacon innards
Beacon innards

A bit of careful prying to release the cover (also held down by a couple dabs of adhesive) reveals the circuit board.  Three contact pads presumably for testing/programming are easily visible.

Beacon innards
Beacon innards
Beacon innards
Beacon innards
Beacon PCB
Beacon PCB

Not much identifying info on the little IC at the heart of the beacon.
P36V G4

Guessing the first number would be a product identifier with the next line (2500D0A) maybe being a date code.  Google led me to a reasonably informative post about the beacons.

Seems to be a fairly simple device and beacons in general might be something fun and interesting to get into.

AAPM 2018 Day 4

Final day of the AAPM 2018 Annual Meeting for me today.

The Kereiakes Memorial Lecture: Designing Pediatric Imaging to Achieve the Best Benefit/Risk for Our Patients had some great speakers who reminded us that we need to work toward maximizing the benefit:risk ratio to patients from medical imaging, and not just minimizing the risk.

The other sessions today were about artifacts in CT, MR, and mammography, CT protocol management, and fluoroscopy technology.  All good sessions.

As a “down in the trenches” medical physicist, it’s always good to attend these kinds of meetings.  Not just for the professional and scientific sessions, but also for the networking opportunities.  I need to make more of an effort to make it to the AAPM meetings on a more regular basis.  10 years is far too long to go between meetings.  After the past few days of sessions, I’m realizing how stagnant my knowledge of things, and perspective of the field has become even though I try to keep up by reading journal articles.

Off to the airport tomorrow, and then back to work.  After being off work for the past three weeks, there will be a lot of catching up to do.

AAPM 2018 Day 3

I really like going to these meetings.  I can spend all my energy and brain power soaking in information that I’ll put to use at work.

Today was sessions on breast imaging, the latest in PET imagers, and updates on the ACR accreditation programs.  All good sessions that I really enjoyed.

At the lunch break, there was a meet-the-editors event at the Wiley booth where people could meet the editor-in-chiefs (EIC) of Medical Physics and Journal of Clinical Applied Medical Physics.  Nice event with about 8 or 10 people coming by.  They asked the EICs some good questions.  I asked if AAPM would continue to release yearly ISO images of Medical Physics like they did when the journal was with AIP, but sadly it looks like under Wiley, they won’t be doing that anymore.  It’s too bad.  It was pretty handy when I needed to look up an article.  Just mount the ISO image and navigate down the directory tree to the article I needed.  It was usually faster to do that than fire up a browser and dig up the article online.

The Night Out event at the Country Music Hall Of Fame and Museum was pretty nice.  The museum has all kinds of artifacts, displays and exhibits about the country music world.  Pretty cool place. 

Physicists in the museum lobby
AAPM 2018 Night Out in the museum lobby

Last day of the meeting for me tomorrow.  It’s been a really good meeting for me, but I’ll be glad to get back home on Thursday.

AAPM 2018 Day 2

Another good day at the AAPM Annual Meeting.  The sessions I went to today weren’t so much about learning new things, but more about refreshing myself on things I should already know about.  All of them were good and well presented.  Some of the session talks got me thinking about some new programming projects to work on coding up some calculator type applications.

One of the things I really enjoy about meetings like this is having the chance to meet up with old colleagues and mentors.  Happened to run into a couple of physicists that I worked with during my residency at Henry Ford Hospital over 20 years ago.  Had a nice lunch with them catching up.

I’m really liking the ePosters set up at the meeting. There are about 10 or so ePoster stations with 4-6 big touch screen monitors at each one.  You can browse all the electronic posters that have been submitted, and during the breaks there are poster presentations where you can talk with the authors about their poster.  There’s also the traditional poster area with actual paper posters tacked up on boards to view.  The majority of posters are therapy related and pretty far out of my field.  There are some good imaging and professional posters though.

After the meeting wrapped up for the day, I went out to play some Ingress and explore some of Nashville’s downtown area.  All the action appears to be on Broadway, where there were lots of bars with live music, restaurants, neon signs, and tons of people walking around.  Quite the happening spot.  Makes King Street in Charleston look positively dull by comparison.  I can see why some people refer to Nashville as “NashVegas”.

Two more days of the meeting left for me before I head back to Charleston on Thursday.

AAPM 2018 Day 1

It was a a pretty good first day at the AAPM annual meeting.  The Nashville Music City Center is a nice convention center.  It’s large, has lots of rooms both big and small, nicely decorated and being downtown it’s in the middle of everything.  It’s like a small McCormick Place.

Started off the morning sitting in on a couple of task group meetings, mostly just to see what the status was. One of them is pretty close to publishing their report, and another was still working on the report.

A nice thing to see was lots of postings on the job board.  Lots of open positions, especially in diagnostic imaging.

The first lightning talk session (called SNAP orals) I went to was a Rad/Fluoro session where I learned about groups working on triple layer detectors for multi-energy radiographic imaging, and photon counting detectors for fluoroscopy.

The second session was on multi-energy CT.  Multi-energy imaging (outside of nuclear medicine) seems pretty hot these days.  Most of it is being done in CT, but based on what I saw in the previous session, it’s being applied to other modalities too.  It’s definitely an area that I need to learn more about.

A good chunk of the last part of the afternoon was spent wandering around the exhibit area.  Checked in on Radcal and RTI to see what the latest was with their test equipment.  Came across a company called Atirix who have a pretty nifty looking QC management program that might be just what I’m looking for.  Got a nice demo of the product at their booth, and it seems interesting enough that I’ll try to get the people at work interested in it, especially the mammography techs.

It appeared that for the afternoon break in the exhibit hall, there was beer for sale, which I failed to notice until after the break was over.  I was probably busy talking with people about products.

Wrapped the day up with a very enjoyable social put on by the Southeast AAPM chapter.  With so many faces at the meeting, it was a good chance to find some familiar faces at the meeting.