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Seeing The Unseen: These Machines Helped Unveil Secrets Of The Human Body

April 15, 2021

Thomas Edison’s light bulb patent was 15 years old when Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays and proved their power by imaging the bones inside his wife's hand. “I've seen my death,” she reportedly said after seeing the picture. But engineer and polymath Elihu Thomson, who together with Edison and J.P. Morgan co-founded GE in 1892, had longevity in mind. A year after Roentgen’s discovery, he modified Edison’s light bulb design and made it emit X-rays. He then used it to build one of the first commercial X-ray machines, which allowed doctors to diagnose bone fractures and locate foreign objects in the body.

It also launched GE into the healthcare business.

Today, GE Healthcare makes everything from advanced imaging machines to software powered by artificial intelligence that can be used to process, analyze and probe for insights the terabytes of data the machines produce. The business generated $18 billion in revenues in 2020 and played an important role in helping clinicians fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Take a look at our slideshow of GE’s imaging advances below.


Thomson x-ray machine


Coolidge GE


Giaever GE Healthcare


John Schenck MRI GE Research


Revolution CT GE Healthcare


Prismatic Sensors Photon Counting CT GE Heathcare


Vscan Air GE Healthcare


serena bright GE Healthcare


AI GE Healthcare Edison


Mummy CT


*Technology in development that represents ongoing research and development efforts. These technologies are not products and may never become products. Not for sale. Not cleared or approved by the U.S. FDA or any other global regulator for commercial availability.