Friday, 24 February 2012


 Fungi picture
Extreme Scientific Imaging: Best of 2011 Named
National Geographic Daily News, 22 February 2012.

1. Underwater City in 3-D
Underwater city picture: a 3-D image of Pavlopetri, first prize in the Extreme Imaging competition

Images courtesy Ariell Friedman et al, University of Sydney via Canon Information Systems Research Australia (CISRA).

Entombed in a watery grave for thousands of years, a submerged Greek city is finally taking shape in new 3-D images (including the one at left). Developed by a team from the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at the University of Sydney, the mapping project won first prize in Canon Australia's 2011 Extreme Imaging competition.

Student Ariell Friedman and colleagues deployed a camera-equipped diver (right) to take images of Pavlopetri, which is located in 13-foot-deep (4-meter-deep) waters off the coast of southern Greece. The city is thought to have sunk some 3,000 years ago, perhaps due to an earthquake.

Using new software and the diver data, the scientists rapidly produced 3-D maps of the ancient site, the oldest known submerged city site.

Intended for students, the Extreme Imaging competition "aims to promote and celebrate local research at the intersection of imaging and technology," according to Canon Australia, which runs the competition along with the company's Australian research center, CiSRA.

"The competition recognises local advances in imaging science, and recognises projects where students create equipment that can produce images beyond the boundaries of creative photography and video," Stephen Hardy, senior general manager for CiSRA, said in a statement.

2. Atom in Detail
Atom picture: runner-up in the Extreme Imaging competition

Image courtesy Ben Norton et al, Griffith University via CISRA.

The highest resolution image of a single atom ever taken was selected as the runner-up in the Extreme Imaging competition.

Ben Norton and supervisor David Kielpinski, of Griffith University's Centre for Quantum Dynamics in Australia, developed new techniques to capture an atom, which is about 400th billionths of a meter across. The team also took the first-ever image of the shadow of a single atom (not pictured).

Precise imaging of atoms can help scientists understand physics as a whole, the new field of quantum computing, and possibly even ultra-high resolution imaging of cells in the body.

3. Stop-Motion Rat Brain
Rat-brain picture: highly commended in the Extreme Imaging competition

Image courtesy Andre Kyme et al, University of Sydney via CISRA.

Two positron emission tomography (PET) images show a rat brain not corrected for head movement (top) and corrected for movement (bottom).

"If PET imaging could be performed on animals that were both conscious and free to move around, it would provide more meaningful information about how their brains respond to external stimuli in different conditions," according to a CiSRA statement.

"However, imaging conscious animals is difficult, because the motion of the head has to be accurately measured and accounted for in the image reconstruction."

So Andre Kyme, of the University of Sydney's School of Physics, developed a stereo motion-tracking system that makes highly accurate estimates of how a rat moves its head. The achievement earned Kyme a highly commended mention in the competition.

4. The Eye Has It
Retina picture: highly commended in the Extreme Imaging competition

Image courtesy Oliver Gibbs et al, University of Sydney via CISRA.

A specialized technique of photographing the retina (pictured) — the back wall of the interior of an eye — may give doctors a non-invasive way to assess heart attack and stroke risk.

That's because the same disease processes that affect the blood vessels in the heart and brain impact all the other vessels in the body too, including the eye's, according to Oliver Gibbs of Sydney Medical School.

This imaging method, highly commended in the competition, may one day replace a procedure that involves passing a wire into the heart's arteries.

Top image courtesy Kandis Elliott and Mo Fayyaz, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

[Source: National Geographic Daily News. Edited.] 

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