Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Beetle gets 3D mapped from the inside using microtomography

If your doctor ever sends you to the hospital for a CT Scan, you might get the chance to have a glimpse of your insides digitally mapped in 3D. Such a scanner works by using a series of high-resolution 2D X-ray images that are pieced together into a 3D model (known as tomography). The model can then be rotated and viewed from all angles, which is an invaluable reference to have when figuring out if anything is wrong.

That same technology can be employed on a much smaller scale (microtomography) for other living things, and it’s just such a technique that has won Professor Javier Alba Tercedor from the University of Granada a movie award.
 The video above is not for people who dislike bugs, but if you can stomach watching it, you get to see a complete and perfect representation of a bug’s insides. More specifically, it’s a complete map of a female Dryops water beetle, captured without damaging the beetle in any way.

The movie was made using a SkyScan-1172 microtomograph located in the Zoology department of the university where the professor works. He mastered the use of the device himself, and that shows in the overall quality of the final capture.

As you can see, every part of the beetle can be looked at in great detail and from every angle. It removes all the guesswork from figuring out how the different systems of this small bug fit together.

    While the movie is great to look at, its production is of vital importance in answering question about why beetles move and act the way they do, and why that differs between species. The same microtomography scans can also be used on other living organisms, with the limit as to what can be seen governed by how precise the scanner is. And as with all technology, we should only see that precision improve in the coming years.

No comments:

Post a Comment