Big Science Machine
Operated by the Gudersnipe Foundation, the Big Science Machine (or "BSM"), is a multi-phased biological scanner. Specifically, the portable unit most citizens are familiar with, is taken to schools twice a year to scan all of the children. Ostensibly, they are screened for potential disorders, but in truth the Foundation is gathering statistical data.
The BSM is described as a sort of booth or tube attached to a workstation. The whole thing sits on casters and can be moved around with some difficulty, but is light enough to be deployed by a single individual. The scanning chamber must be sealed airtight and the inside kept dark, but an individual scan takes less than a minute to complete.
Within the chamber, the subject stands on a raised platform while the circular scanning implement is raised and lowered on rails, passing an energy field through them. Aside from a blast of pressurized air the subject feels nothing.
The Foundation sends the machine along with an operator out to schools. The operator is usually supplied with a stack of vouchers for treats to pass out to children in exchange for cooperation. Ice-cream is the favored treat. The technician has no medical training and requires very little technical knowledge of the machine itself. His primary role is to unload and configure the machine, then check identity-cards of the scan subject. If any errors are encountered he has the ability to manually re-run the scan. The Technician can also chose from a variety of scan-modes in case subjects have problems. For example, a 'quick scan' that takes 14 seconds can be initiated if a subject is claustrophobic, and a 'lights on' scan for achluophobics. The lights-on scan takes much longer.
The technician has no access to the scan data and no capability to interpret it even if they did. They do have a number of readouts to compare to readouts from a previous scan, but these are only for identity verification.
Every hospital and most medical facilities will have a permanently-installed BSM on site for basic medical diagnosis. Anyone with a medical background can be trained to interpret the scan data, and the scanners also gather simple information such as height, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and various other health information that can be made immediately available directly to the scan subject. Nearly any checkup or exam will start with a quick trip through the BSM. The Foundation provides these machines at very reasonable lease rates under the condition that the machines be allowed to report data back to the organization.
Hospitals will also typically have a 'Lateral BSM' which allows for the scanning of an individual while laying down. The BSM is capable, with greater scan directions, of providing highly sophisticated imaging of a patient's internal structures. In most developed regions, the BSM has supplanted all other medical scanning equipment besides passive monitoring tools. The very low acquisition and operational costs of the tool, coupled with it's completely non-invasive nature, make it a far superior choice to any other available technology.
The Auto-BSM can be found installed in public places. It does not typically require a human operator, and typically charges a small fee for usage. Free auto-BSMs are often found at government installations within the Foundation, such as court houses or vehicle registries, where citizens can stop in for their annual scan while there on other business.
The Auto BSMs provide a readout of the basic scan data and a data card which includes the raw data. This can be taken to a physician for interpretation. Much like the school-sponsored BSMs, these all require an iden-card to operate.
The data is archived by the Gudersnipe Foundation and is available on request. In many cases, it is also forwarded directly to the scan subject's private physician. Because the scans are taken biennially throughout a person's youth and annually after that, a great deal of baseline data is available in the event of injury or illness. The historical record is also extremely useful for charting long-term trends.