Magnetic resonance imaging is creepy. It almost always spells out stress and worry; unlike colonoscopies, no one gets an MRI because they’re fun. This procedure is in desperate need of a humanizing touch, and perhaps that’s why Andy Ellison, an MRI technologist at Boston University Medical School, began doing MRIs of items from the grocer’s produce aisle. Ellison displays them at Inside Insides, an unexpectedly distracting visual record of fruits and vegetables run through an MRI device and posted as looping animated GIFs. You wouldn’t think it’d be so much fun to look at MRIs of objects you can just as easily “diagnose” with a kitchen knife, but an MRI of an heirloom tomato looks like a jellyfish, and an MRI of a bunch of Brussels sprouts is nothing less than a dazzling gray fireworks show. Ellison has even begun running flowers through the machine with equally fascinating results: You’ve got to see what a sunflower looks like broken down layer-by-layer. It’s an entirely new and different way of looking at the natural world, and I have to admit that it takes a bit of the scare off of getting an MRI. Next time I get one, I’ll just pretend I’m an heirloom tomato.



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