CT brain scanner, 1970-1971.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
This brain scanner, designed by Godfrey Hounsfield at EMI, was the first production model with which the first trials on patients were undertaken in 1971. These established CT (computerised tomography) scanning as a key imaging technology, particularly for the brain. CT scanning is a method which produces an image of a 'slice' of the body, using a computer programme to reconstruct a picture from data derived from a series of precision X-ray exposures. The CT scanner was a runaway succes: by 1977 there were 1130 machines installed acros the world. The technique continues to be popular, but the more recent technology of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is now being used for many of the diagnostic tasks previously asigned to CT.