This is what an innovation district looks like (NewsOK)

By Stephen Prescott, M.D.

Imaging. It's the ability to create a visual representation of something we cannot simply view with the naked eye.

In biomedical research, imaging technologies focus on things that are really, really tiny. For example, to understand how the body's circulatory system functions, cardiovascular biologists study red blood cells, which are about seven microns long. That's one-millionth of a meter. Or, to think another way, you'd have to lay about 200 blood cells end to end to equal the length of your average flea.

Conversely, in the energy sector, geophysicists use imaging technologies to study things that are really, really large. Take, for example, the Marcellus Shale. That's a geologic formation that lies beneath roughly 90,000 square miles of West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York, and scientists are trying to figure out how best to extract the trillions of cubic feet of natural gas trapped in the shale.

You might not think these scientists' disparate quests would have much in common. But it turns out many of the imaging devices geophysicists use are based on ultrasound technologies developed in medicine.

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