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Facilities - Scanning Equipment


The 3-D imaging equipment of the department consists of:

  • a transportable, high-resolution, industrial computed tomography (CT) scanner for 3-D imaging of large objects such as fossil cranial or post-cranial skeletal remains - BIR ACTIS 225/300
  • a desktop micro-CT scanner for small objects such as teeth - Skyscan 1172/100kV and
  • a portable 3-D suface scanner for color and surface information from large objects - Breuckmann optoTop-HE. more


High Resolution CT Scanning and Analysis Facilities

The Department of Human Evolution at the MPI-EVA has the unique advantage of being able to offer two transportable CT scanners available for use in museums around the world: the SkyScan 1172 high-resolution desk-top micro-CT system and the BIR ACTIS 225/300 high-resolution industrial CT. In addition to regular use in the Department of Human Evolution, these machines facilitate inclusion of fossil collections that have not previously been accessible due to museum regulations or governmental prohibitions. Commercially available and custom-designed software is employed in our Virtual Paleoanthropology Laboratory on high-end computer workstations that facilitate efficient data processing and a variety of analytical tools.

The SkyScan 1172 micro-CT is a new high-energy (100 kV) high resolution unit that is easily shipped within Europe or overseas to collect non-destructive data on small objects such as isolated teeth or vertebrae. Objects up to 68 mm in diameter can be accommodated, and a range of resolutions from 35 to 0.8 microns are possible, leading to excellent quality virtual reconstructions of objects that represent an accurate and permanent record of the sample for analysis or archiving.

portable Scanner in South Africa PhD Candidate Matthew Skinner operates the Skyscan 1172 micro-CT on location at the Transvaal Museum, Pretoria, South Africa.


CT Scanner Software engineer Heiko Temming prepares a fossil for the BIR ACTIS high-resolution industrial CT scanner.


The BIR ACTIS 225/300 high-resolution industrial CT is a versatile high energy (225 kV) unit that is particularly well suited for collecting non-destructive data on large objects such as mandibles, crania, or most long-bones, but may also accommodate small objects such as isolated teeth. Objects up to 300 mm by 600 mm can be accommodated, and a range of resolutions from 1 mm to 5 microns are possible, representing much more accurate quantification of objects that what is possible using conventional medical imaging. The BIR scanner may be transported and operated inside a custom designed lead-shielded container.

CT-Scanner in the container The one of a kind custom-designed transportable scanning laboratory complete with climate control, high-end workstations, and lead-shielding to provide safe and high-quality non-destructive data acquisition anywhere in the world.