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A Slice of Everyday Life

Photonics Spectra
Jul 2009
Rebecca C. Jernigan,

How would you balance your interests if you were an artist-turned-medical-student? You could forego your first love to pursue your new dream, or you could compartmentalize the two. However, you could also choose the path taken by Satre Stuelke of New York and combine your love of art with medical imaging technology, creating an innovative way of looking at common items.

Above, the detailed electronic mechanism of a wireless remote from a Playstation 3 game system is shown in this scan. The circuit board can be seen, as well as the surface knobs and buttons.

Using a four-slice research CT scanner from GE and a free image software program called Osirix, Stuelke images objects that have some hidden structure within them. The images are generally produced using a slice thickness and interval of 0.625 mm and a speed of 1.25 mm per rotation. The colors in each scan are assigned depending on the density of the materials in the object, and then the image is processed in Adobe Photoshop to correct the contrast and balance.

In the CT scan to the right, the inner workings of a toaster are revealed. The electrical cord and heating elements are clearly visible. All images courtesy of Satre Stuelke,

Through this art, Stuelke hopes to lead viewers to question why and how they identify with these common objects that now appear so different, as well as their own preconceived notions about the safety and usage of medical imaging and radiation. He feels that “using radiation to ‘photograph’ things which we have connection to, even affection for, is compelling and gorgeous on the one hand, and simultaneously alarming on the other.” He encourages visitors to his Web site to submit their own ideas about items to be imaged.


Above, a CT scan of a Barbie doll reveals a fairly detailed skeletal structure beneath the plastic skin. The leg joints are especially noticeable.


The image at right displays the mechanism that makes the stuffed elephant vibrate when its tail is pulled. The heavy thread used to stitch the eyes and seams is visible; the diffuse, fluffy contents are the toy’s stuffing.


Pieces of chicken, mashed potatoes, corn and a brownie can be seen inside the box of a frozen dinner, top left. Even the chicken bones are easily identifiable.

BiophotonicsConsumerCT scanimaging technologyLighter Sidemedical imaging technology

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