NJIT Professor Elevates CT Scan Lab Work to Realm of Visual Art

(Above) Monica Torralba studies the effects of plant growth responses to lighting, nutrient and water delivery systems.

For most, the stark black and white images produced through computed tomography (CT) may not ignite much imagination beyond the routine bone scans that we’d see at the radiologist’s lab. However, for NJIT Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design, Mathew Schwartz, the technology has become the creative medium by which he is building a library of digital art, steeped in the niche field of x-ray photography.

At NJIT’s York Center Laboratory, Schwartz’s ongoing work is proof that artistic inspiration can strike anytime, anywhere. Using the lab’s advanced imaging equipment, Schwartz is expanding a free-to-use online repository of prints in the public domain, featuring 3D X-ray-based compositions of everything from mini orchids to used electronics — all captured in micron-scale detail.

Photo: A Canon DSLR Lens (24mm f2.8 pancake lens) is imaged at resolution of ~20 micron using a Bruker SkyScan microCT scanner. The camera’s outside ring is composed of thin metal, while the darker inner circle of the camera lens is composed of dense glass. Credit — Mathew Schwartz/NJIT