Images: CT scans as gadget art

The Radiology Art project creates unexpected visions of culturally significant everyday objects, including the iPhone, a toaster, and wind-up toys.

iPhone, via CT scan
A "deeper visualization" of the Apple iPhone. Courtesy of Satre Stuelke/

The vivid blue registers first, then the smaller black masses, and the orange highlights. The rectangular shape with the rounded corners is vaguely familiar, but the densities of the object belie the simplicity of its unseen exterior.

The object in question is an Apple iPhone, and in this view its familiar outward appearance has given way to the penetrating gaze of a CT scan. The scanning wasn't done to diagnose some suspected malfunction or unexpected behavior. Rather, it was done in the name of art, to peel back the surfaces of everyday toys and gadgets and even fast-food meals.

Here's the goal as described by the Radiology Art project, created in the summer of 2007 by Satre Stuelke:

Dedicated to the deeper visualization of various objects that hold unique cultural importance in modern society, this project intends to plant a seed of scientific creativity in the minds of all those inclined to participate.

To create the images, Stuelke--who's also a medical student--places the objects in an older four-slice CT scanner that's used for research. He processes the images in Osirix software on an iMac, as well as in Adobe Photoshop. Colors are determined by the density of the materials in the scanned object.

Our slideshow presents some of Stuelke's gadget images. To see what he discovered about Barbies, Big Macs, and more, check out the Radiology Art site.

About the author

Jonathan Skillings is managing editor of CNET News, based in the Boston bureau. He's been with CNET since 2000, after a decade in tech journalism at the IDG News Service, PC Week, and an AS/400 magazine. He's also been a soldier and a schoolteacher, and will always be a die-hard fan of jazz, the brassier the better.


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