Dr. Elizabeth Brainerd and her colleagues in the vertebrate morphology group at Brown University have just developed CTX Imaging, a technique that combines computed-tomography, x-ray video and computing post-processing to let you see bones in rapid motion. Like Mr. Crocodile here doing the Jane Fonda on the treadmill. The process and the results are quite stunning, as you will see in the images after the jump.


First, they do a complete tomography scan on the subject, which gets stored in the computer to get combined with "high-speed fluoroscopy" footage of the animal in motion. That generates a highly detailed 3D computer animated model that can be seen from any angle. So detailed that it can capture 1,000 frames per second with a precision of a tenth of a millimeter.

According to Dr. Brainerd, this allows you "to study many aspects of skeletal kinematics, such as long axis rotation of bones, putative bending of fine bones in small animals, and the relative 3D motions of the articular surfaces of joints" for the first time ever.

Image credits: D.B. Baier for the Alligator and S.M. Gatesy for the bird.

Down to the bone [Popsci]


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