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Best Pictures of 2014: The GE Edition

Every year, GE sends dozens of talented photographers, filmmakers and visual artists to its labs and factories to document how it makes its machines, and to the field to show how they work.  Others comb through archives and look for forgotten visual gems. Below is a selection of some of 2014’s best images.

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In 1964, Isaac Asimov took a trip to the GE pavilion at New York’s World’s Fair. He imagined what the world would look like in 2014 and got a few things right.

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But Asimov didn’t think of a “4D” ultrasound machine. It can monitor the fetus in the mother’s belly with startling clarity in three dimensions and over time. “In the past, you could see a flat two-dimensional image of the fetal profile,” says Barbara Del Prince, a global managing director for ultrasound products at GE Healthcare. “But today you can watch their movements in 3D, see a smile or a grimace, glimpse their personality.”

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Forget the iron horse, here comes the iron snake. More than 180 GE locomotives are helping Rio Tinto haul iron ore across 900 miles of Western Australia’s Mars-like landscape to port. The trains weigh upwards of 26,000 tons and stretch 1.4 miles.

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Last year, a GE engineer met in a hospital a boy who was missing a hand and whose family could not afford a prosthesis. So he decided to build one for him.

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Scientists at GE Global Research are developing magnetic resonance methods to image the brain’s white matter tissue and study its structural connectivity. (Also top image.)

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When Buzz Aldrin first walked on the moon, his boots were made from special silicon rubber developed by GE. That’s why GE decided to celebrate the 45th anniversary of the first manned moon landing last summer by launching a limited edition of a moon boot sneaker called The Missions. Aldrin tried the shoes on, but this time on Earth. 

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Cytell is a relatively inexpensive and intuitive imaging system that combines the microscope with the cell analyzer. It fits on a lab bench and allows researchers to quickly analyze and visualize routine samples, from insect limbs down to cells. 

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A Japanese farmer is using GE LED lights to illuminate an indoor farm where he grows 10,000 heads of lettuce per day. The idea could one day revolutionize agriculture.

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American and allied soldiers landed in Normandy 70 years ago last summer. GE engineers designed a WWII high-altitude flying suit used by their comrades flying sorties over occupied France and Germany. GIF animation: Kevin Weir at flux machine.

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GE scientists are using supercomputers normally employed to explore the birth of the universe to model fuel flow and design better fuel nozzles.

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In the 1960s, GE set out to create Hardiman, a mechanical exoskeleton that could give its user the ability to lift up to 1,500 pounds. Unfortunately, the suit’s size, weight, stability and power-supply issues prevented it from ever leaving the laboratory. GIF animation: Kevin Weir at flux machine.

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Spinning blades on a gas turbine at GE’s Greenville, S.C., facility, where the company manufactures, tests and repairs gas turbines. 

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A GE wind turbine starts up at the GDF Suez Energy site in Galati, Romania. This year, GE installed its 25,000th wind turbine.

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At GE Global Research, workers heat a tube of almost pure quartz to temperatures of around 1,700 degrees Celsius to create custom laboratory glassware.

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GE scientists are developing superhydrophobic materials to keep ice off surfaces and equipment. The Slow Mo Guys captured this footage with their Phantom Flex camera on a trip to GE Global Research.

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In the 1960s, GE engineers developed the Cybernetic Anthropmorophous Machine, or Walking Truck. In 1966, the US Army awarded GE a contract for building the experimental vehicle. However, its hand and foot controls not only fatigued operators, but were impractical for prolonged use on the battlefield, so the project was discontinued. Artist Kevin Weir reanimated the Walking Truck so the mechanical beast could gallop once more. GIF animation: Kevin Weir at flux machine.

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In 2014, GE made the largest acquisition bid in its history when it made a binding offer to buy the thermal power, renewable energy and electricity grid businesses of the French engineering company Alstom for $13.5 billion. But this was not the first time the two companies met. In 1892, financier J.P. Morgan organized a merger between Thomas Edison’s Edison General Electric Company and Elihu Thomson’s (above) Thomson-Houston Electric Company to form GE. Thomson-Houston’s French subsidiary was also at the birth of Alstom.

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This image of HeLa cancer cells, created for cancer research, was a finalist in GE Healthcare’s cell imaging competition.

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“Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” – Thomas Edison 

GIF animation: Kevin Weir at flux machine.

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