Professor Stephen Benton’s interest in optical phenomena developed at an early age while he was watching the 3d film, The House of Wax. Benton invented white light transmission (or “rainbow”) holography at Polaroid in 1968. As a professor at MIT, Benton continued to explore the technology. In 1985, he created a 3d image of a green car floating in front of the Boston skyline that, unlike any previous hologram, was generated from a digital database. Benton thought this technique—synthetic, or digital, holography—would be very useful in medicine. That same year, Benton, members of his Spatial Imaging Group, and researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital collaborated to create this unique image of the human brain from MRI data. The coloring cues, partial transparency, and solid surfaces give this image context and add to its effectiveness. Throughout his life, Benton seamlessly blended art and technology. His creativity resulted in as many astonishing art pieces as breakthroughs in technology.
Volumetric Rendering of Magnetic Resonance Imaging--Acquired Data, Digital Hologram
Stephen Benton, MIT Media Laboratory Spatial Imaging Group, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital