The History Of The X-ray Screen: The Past, Present And The Future!

With the innovation in X-ray technology come new opportunities in medical facilities.  Over the past 20 years alone, for example, we have seen X-rays move from film to digital detectors. Over time new, modern, innovative technology has changed the whole look, feel, and procedures undergone in X-ray departments, however even with these developments the radiation-shielding screen has stayed the same for most suppliers.

The radiation-shielding screen not only provides protection from harmful radiation but also provides a workspace for radiographers to carry out their work efficiently and with complete confidence that they are protected.  Therefore, it is important that X-ray screens not only protect but also enable a comfortable and efficient workspace for staff.

Another point to highlight with X-ray screens to keep at the forefront of radiation screen design is the patient’s experience.  For many people, having an X-ray scan is not a common event in their lives.  It can be an uncomfortable and daunting situation for patients, especially those who are not familiar with medical environments.  Just imagine what it must be like for a child or an elderly patient to enter a room full of high-tech machinery, then to be left alone as the medical professional disappears behind an old, world war II type x-ray screen, or even a completely different room.

With this in mind, it is important that the screen is designed with practicality and experience in mind.  A screen today should be modern, durable, up-to-date with hospital infection control, and of course, aesthetically pleasing, for not only staff but patients too.  A happy, shared experience is a win for everybody, just a small comment about how pleasurable the room looked and felt could go a long way in this day and age, especially with the growth of social media.

The History of X-ray Imaging And The Discovery of X-rays

The history of X-ray imaging is a remarkable journey that spans over a century, revolutionising the field of medical diagnostics and beyond. It all began in 1895 when Wilhelm Röntgen (Roentgen) accidentally discovered X rays while experimenting with the emission of cathode rays. His serendipitous observation led to the first X ray image of his wife’s hand, captivating the scientific community and laying the foundation for groundbreaking technology.

In the early years, X-ray screens (not to be confused with X-ray operator screens) consisted of fluorescent materials, such as barium platinocyanide, which emitted visible light when exposed to X-rays. As X ray technology progressed, the screens evolved to include intensifying screens, which enhanced the detection of X-ray images. In recent decades, advancements in digital imaging have transformed the landscape of X-ray diagnostics.

Digital radiography and computed tomography (CT) scans now provide sharper images with reduced radiation exposure, making them invaluable tools in medical diagnosis and treatment planning. The future of X-ray imaging holds exciting prospects, with ongoing research into advanced techniques like dual-energy imaging, to further improve image quality and expand the applications of this remarkable technology.

Evolution of X-ray Operator Screens

The evolution of X-ray operator screens for controlled X-ray rooms has undergone significant advancements to ensure the safety and efficiency of medical professionals. In the early days of X ray technology, operators were often exposed to high levels of radiation due to the lack of proper shielding. However, as the understanding of radiation hazards grew, so did the development of protective measures.

The introduction of leaded glass screens in X ray rooms provided a physical barrier between the operator and the X-ray source, reducing their exposure to harmful radiation. These screens were initially heavy and cumbersome but evolved over time to become more lightweight and transparent, allowing for improved visibility during procedures. Furthermore, advancements in technology led to the development of real-time monitoring systems that displayed radiation levels to operators, enabling them to adjust their positioning and technique accordingly.

As X-ray technology continues to advance, the evolution of operator screens remains crucial in ensuring the safety and well-being of healthcare professionals in controlled X ray environments. Raybloc has been in the radiation shielding industry since the 1990s and has since gone through mu

So let’s Look at How Screens Have Changed for Raybloc Over the Years, And Why These Changes Have Made Such a Difference

The Past: Model 1 “The Chunky Box Screen” – 1990s to early 2000s

The Chunky Box Screen

This screen was Raybloc’s first screen.  Its design, although ahead of the time of its creation, was constructed of brushed aluminium trim with its structure held in its large outer rectangular box section.  Within the company, this was commonly known as the “Chunky Box Section” screen.  Although the screen was sturdy and offered maximum radiation protection suitable for radiology, it still followed the normal design that was common in X ray screens around the world (still used even in 2017 by many companies around the world).

The Present: Model 2 The “Smooth & Sleek” Modern Screen – 2000s until Today

Smooth and Sleek Modern Screen

After hundreds of shielding screen installs, Sean Haydon, Raybloc’s Managing Director decided it was time the industry waved goodbye to the old-fashioned screens and made way for a new design.  After listening to RPA professionals, customers, end users and their patients, Sean and the Raybloc team came up with the new screen design.

It introduced for the first time a new solid channel system that allowed the perimeter of the screen to be half the width.  This channel was not only more stylish and pleasing to the eye but also had a new ‘U’ shape, finished in satin.  The new shape provides anti-bump protection so that the screen is more resistant to chips, hence safer, longer lasting, durable, and better hygiene control due to the fewer edges.

The Future: Model 3 The “Next Generation” Screen – 2017

Next Generation Screen

So what does the future of X-ray protection screens look like?  Well, these past few years have been busy for Raybloc and its research and development department.  Raybloc is always looking for more effective methods to suit the needs of medical facilities and their patients. The next-generation screen now introduces a modular system that can be installed anywhere in the world and with less installation downtime.

And to top it off, well… it is exactly that, it has no top!  Due to the new structure with steel workings within the screen, the aluminium trim has been removed so the top of the screen is completely lead X-ray glass, leaving a futuristic look. With radiographers’ feedback, it no longer feels “claustrophobic” behind the screen.

The next generation X-ray screen had its grand reveal at the UKRC 2017 event in June with orders already being placed on the week of the reveal.  The screen is set to be shipped worldwide, due to its modular design it can be installed anywhere with ease.  The perimeter of the screen utilises softly bevelled edges; even the glass is smooth and bevelled too across the top edge.  This new screen is set to be the world’s game changer in X-ray protective shielding.

Future Trends in X-ray Screens

The future of X-ray operator screens is poised to revolutionise the way healthcare professionals interact with X-ray equipment. One significant trend on the horizon is the integration of augmented reality (AR) technology into operator screens. AR overlays real-time information, such as patient data, anatomical landmarks, and procedural guidance, onto the operator’s field of view, enhancing accuracy and efficiency.

This technology has the potential to streamline workflow, reduce errors, and improve overall patient care. Additionally, advancements in transparent conductive materials and flexible displays may lead to the development of wearable operator screens, such as smart glasses or headsets. These devices can provide hands-free access to critical information, allowing radiographers to maintain better focus during procedures.

Moreover, the integration of haptic feedback systems into operator screens could enhance the operator’s sense of touch, enabling more precise and controlled movements. These future trends in X-ray operator screens are poised to transform the way healthcare professionals interact with X-ray equipment, ultimately leading to improved patient outcomes and a more seamless diagnostic experience.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it is clear that the X-ray machine is not the only piece of equipment that needs to stay ahead of the game.  The shielding screen plays a grand part in not only the safety of the medical personnel but the overall functionality, practicality and staff and patient experience, which in today’s world has never been more important.

The screen design is critical to ensure that your new X-ray installation is up-to-date with the same innovation as the X-ray machine, be sure to be up-to-date with the latest design and don’t get left behind with an old-fashioned workplace screen, your staff and patients will thank you later.


What was the first X-ray image history?

The first X-ray image in history was captured by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in 1895, revealing the skeletal structure of his wife’s hand.

When was the X-ray scan invented?

The X-ray scan was invented in 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. It was during his experiments with cathode rays that he accidentally discovered X-rays and their ability to penetrate objects and create images. Roentgen’s groundbreaking discovery of X-rays led to the invention of the X-ray scan, a non-invasive imaging technique that revolutionised medical diagnostics.

Since its inception, X-ray scanning has become an essential tool in various fields, including medicine, industry, and security, allowing for the visualisation of internal structures and abnormalities. The invention of the X-ray scan marked a significant milestone in the history of medical imaging, forever changing the way we diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions.

What does a modern X-ray screen look like?

A modern X-ray screen, specifically the innovative Raybloc frameless X-ray operator screen, presents a cutting-edge design that has become the new standard in X-ray imaging. Unlike traditional screens, the Raybloc operator screen boasts a unique frameless construction, providing several key advantages. One standout feature is its easily wipeable surface, which ensures quick and efficient cleaning between patients or procedures.

The screen’s seamless design eliminates the presence of edges, minimising the risk of dirt, debris, or bacteria accumulation. This not only enhances hygiene but also simplifies maintenance and prolongs the screen’s lifespan. With its sleek and streamlined appearance, the Raybloc Frameless X-ray operator screen combines functionality with aesthetics, setting a new benchmark for X-ray screen design and reliability.

To find out more about our X-ray protection products, download our eBook today.

Lead Lined Wall Panelling

Do not skip corners when it comes to radiation protection. It is what shields you, your staff, and your patients from harmful radiation. There is no compromise when it comes to people’s lives. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Follow me

Get A Free Quote