Food packaging

See food packaging with x-ray vision

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have Superman’s x-ray vision to see through doors, buildings and more?

What if this superpower was used on packaging?

This is exactly what happened a few weeks ago on the recently launched Scan of the Month website. The homepage provides a succinct summary: “As engineers, designers, makers, and restless people, we used a CT scanner to scan a loaf of bread. This single scan opened up a whole world of exploration and a deeper understanding of the inner workings of life around us.

Common products, the scan of the month has transformed its x-ray vision to include Lego figures, Airpods Evolution, Gameboy Compendium and instant cameras. Then came the month of March, the subject of which hit the bull’s eye in the editorial staff: food packaging. The scanned samples included an inverted bottle of Heinz ketchup, a bottle of Sirachi hot sauce, and an aberrant beverage packaging mentioned below.

Scan of the monthSoM-Heinz-combo-black-720px-post.png

Composite scans of a Heinz zipper seen from the side and from above become a psychedelic work of art.

As you can see, the colorful and very revealing results focused on the highly technical plastic fittings of the containers.

According to spokesperson Drew Parrett, the scanner of the month relies on computed tomography (CT), which informs us that it is “a process of collecting x-ray images, called x-rays. These are then reconstructed into a 3D volume.

For the layman, that means the results are eye-catching 3D rendered GIFs that spin as you watch.

The site launched five months ago with Lego minifigure scans, which were an instant hit. “It was surprising to see the scale of the response, especially since it was a cold start to the website,” Parrett says.

Why focus on food packaging?

“The more we scan things, the more we realize there is amazing engineering and manufacturing that is easily overlooked,” Parrett responds. “On a whim, we went to a CVS pharmacy and picked up a few everyday items. They turned out to be fascinating.

I couldn’t agree more – CT scans turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Website enthusiasts made food packaging scans another hit and with one week left in the month.

“It was very popular!” Parrett exclaims. “For example, I believe over 300,000 people saw this on Reddit.”


Scan of the month

When asked which of this month’s scans he liked best, Parrett chose the only drink of the bunch. “The Vita Coco cap is just wild,” he replies. “The interlocking cap design with a hidden hole saw is just crazy to me.” It is shown on the left.

If like me you were wondering what that meant, it’s explained on the site and in Scan of the Month’s post on Reddit: “An industrial CT scanner created this 3D CAD model of a Vita Coco bottle cap, showing an intricate assembly of cams, followers and saw blades that [cut]open the aluminum seal when the cap is turned.
These guys know what they see. He also points out that the fittings, closures and dispensers we take for granted are little marvels of engineering.

The concept and execution of Scan of the Month is impressive. Plus, the copy that accompanies the visuals isn’t just informative, it’s insightful, making for an edutainment experience. See for yourself on Scan of the month.