These MRI-Scanned Fruits And Vegetables Unfold Like Alien Births

An MRI technologist’s hobby turns every-day foods into something new and intriguing

Photo: Andy Ellison

Andy Ellison works as an MRI technologist at Boston University Medical School. When preparing his machinery to peer into human bodies, his test subjects of choice are fruits and vegetables. With his 3 Tesla MRI, he has assembled uncanny images of some of the most familiar fruits and vegetables around. Under the peering eye of his MRI, these foods take on strange, hypnotic qualities, instantly shifting from the mundane to the unusual.

Here's Salon on how he made his first image—an orange: 

He stitched together the series of cross-section images — the “slices” — of the fruit into an animation that looks like an orange being born, or uncomfortably like a leech trying to make out with you. As Ellison continues picking up subjects at the produce aisle, the animations get more and more gorgeous — x-ray vision in slo-mo — but they feel too a little bit like Rorschach tests. 

When Ellison posted a few of these images online several years back, they were an instant internet hit—much to his surprise. "The success of this blog has caught no one more off guard than myself," he writes. Since then, he's been keeping up the search for new subjects, providing plenty of reason to revist that original set and its latest additions.  

Here are some favorites: 

Jackfruit. Photo: Andy Ellison
Bell Pepper. Photo: Andy Ellison
Persimmon. Photo: Andy Ellison
Onion. Photo: Andy Ellison
Brussel sprouts. Photo: Andy Ellison
Tomato. Photo: Andy Ellison
Corn. Photo: Andy Ellison

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