Originally a spin-off of UGent, or Ghent University, Molecubes are the creators of a set of medical benchtop imaging systems. The three preclinical imaging cubes share the same design housing, inventive animal beds and intuitive user interface.
The PET, CT and SPECT cubes can be used side by side with the same bed, allowing more advanced imaging in 3D and even moving images.
From the first prototype, a redesign has prepped the scanners for limited series industrialization. Various optimizations to the image stack, lead shielding, motorized linear motion, assembly design ... turn the scanners into genuine state-of-the-art machines.
Optimization of the animal beds and the addition of new production methods has resulted in 3 bed sizes which can accommodate anything from small mice to rats weighing 700 grams. The basic anaesthesia flow and bed heating have been expanded into a future-proof easy-to-use connect system with both supply and extraction of anaesthetic, bed heating, heart rate monitoring ... A newly designed docking station that shares the look and feel of the larger scanners allows for animal preparation in a comfortable and better controlled environment.
Molecubes and TEN agency were jointly awarded the iF Design Award in 2019.
The functional prototypes used by Molecubes for testing and evaluating their benchtop imaging systems required several major updates before the product could be released on a large scale. Technical challenges such as heat dissipation, air flow, the connection between the beds and machines ... had to be carefully analysed and redesigned. Mechanically, the scanners have been redesigned to make for a product that is simple and straightforward to (dis)assemble.
Alternative designs from competitors may be able to provide similar image quality. Some may even boast additional advantages or combinations. None of them, however, can be used by simply deploying them onto a standard laboratory table. The majority of systems either have a large footprint (the size of a small car), require a climate-controlled environment (an air-conditioned room), are complex to use, or require computer racks to operate. Molecubes has managed to meet all requirements by putting everything into a small, well-designed cube (54x54x54 cm).
When the first sets of scanners were being produced, TEN agency handled production follow-up to ensure the best possible quality of components and production methods. New requirements and customer or market demands are regularly being evaluated and integrated, as well.