Imager shows cross-sections of everyday objects – analog version

Posted to Visualization  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

GE shows how their body imaging technology can take detailed pictures of insides without cutting, using fruit, a baseball, engine motor, and violin to demonstrate.

Many body imaging devices follow a principle called tomography (the 'T' in CT, PET and SPECT systems), which take images of body "slices" using everything from projection data to powerful magnets. But have you ever wondered how such routine procedures can help clinicians see things that used to require a sharp knife? Watch how GE's body imaging technology can paint a bigger picture of what’s happening beneath our skin.

Update: I wasn't paying close enough attention, and it turns out that these are actual, physical sliced objects. Like, with a saw. Now I'm left wondering what the point is.


  • It looks like they actually did cut those objects — look at the credits. Their cameras are Canon 7Ds. So unless the cameras have some very fancy/magical lenses attached, this is a very figurative video.

  • yeah… that big bandsaw pretty well indicates they are actually slicing all those objects. Maybe they are just trying to draw a parallel between that and what their body-imager/scanners do.

  • Without cutting, hu? The last shot is poorly chosen then…

  • As an MRI researcher, it was cool to see an analogue equivalent to the digital stuff we see everyday. Loved it! If you want to see actual equipment doing everyday objects google “MRI fruit”, there are tons of movies out there. This being an example.

  • I’m with you Nathan – what’s the point of GE doing this, if they have machines which could show us this without cutting?

    It’s a very cool video – but it seems like a strange message for GE to send, since you now have an association between GE’s scanners and a band-saw.

  • I wouldn’t like to be sliced apart so they can see inside me at that imagining level. It may be great imaging, but what comes across is that you need to cut apart the object. Not so good for the patient.

  • The point is that you can see inside things by looking at data in slices. You can’t see through an onion, but by moving through the layers you can understand its structure. Tomography works in the same way – each non-invasive slice gives you a picture of what is there at that depth. Note that the slices are quite thick compared to the pixel density, so your x and y resolutions are much higher than the z resolution of the data.

    There was a more approximate (and more unnerving) documentary where they sliced a human body in very thin slices, and imaged it. The result is an amazing view of the body and all its tissues all the way through.

    But, as far as comforting those who are about to undergo some kind of tomography, it’s not very well thought through. I think Nathan’s original assumption, that they would be imaging these objects with biomed scanners, would have been much more interesting. I think someone said ‘hey, let’s show them how it works without the computers’…

  • the message I get is: GE helps you getting clinical data without slicing your patients


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