Future Direction of Radiographic Education
Although many of the methods and techniques developed over a century ago remain in use, computers are slowly becoming a part of radiographic inspection. The future of radiography will likely see many changes. As noted earlier, companies are performing many inspections without the aid of film.
Radiographers of the future will capture images in digitized form and e-mail them to the customer when the inspection has been completed. Film evaluation will likely be left to computers. Inspectors may capture a digitized image, feed them into a computer and wait for a printout of the image with an accept/reject report. Systems will be able to scan a part and present a three-dimensional image to the radiographer, helping him or her to locate the defect within the part.
Inspectors in the future will be able to peal away layer after layer of a part to evaluate the material in much greater detail. Color images, much like computer generated ultrasonic C-scans of today, will make interpretation of indications much more reliable and less time consuming.
Educational techniques and materials will need to be revised and updated to keep pace with technology and meet the requirements of industry. These needs may well be met with computers. Computer programs can simulate radiographic inspections using a computer aided design (CAD) model of a part to produce physically accurate simulated x-ray radiographic images. Programs allow the operator to select different parts to inspect, adjust the placement and orientation of the part to obtain the proper equipment/part relationships, and adjust all the usual x-ray generator settings to arrive at the desired radiographic film exposure.
Computer simulation will likely have its greatest impact in the classroom, allowing the student to see results in almost real-time. Simulators and computers may well become the primary tool for instructors as well as students in the technical classroom.