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X-ray sphere, 1934

X-ray technology

The rotating anode tubes introduced by Siemens in 1933 can withstand much greater electrical loads and were thus more efficient than their conventional counterparts. Marketed under the name Pantix, the first tubes lay the foundation for the development of modern X-ray tubes.

 

In 1934, Siemens introduced the X-ray sphere, which could be connected directly to domestic power supplies. With total sales of nearly 30,000 units, the system was used worldwide until the 1970s.

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Betatron 15 MeV, 1952

Electron accelerator

The different types of particle accelerators – like the Betatron of Siemens - were used to produce extremely hard X-rays and electron beams for examining materials and to administer high-energy radiotherapy in medical applications.

 

Siemens began pioneering work in the 1930s. The first experimental betatron accelerator, which generated six million electron volts, was produced in 1944. Subsequent series models achieved levels of up to 42 mega electron volts.

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Carl Hellmuth Hertz with the 1953 ultrasound reflectoscope on the left and the Sonoline CD on the right, 1985

Echocardiography

In 1953, Inge Edler, a Swedish physician, and the physicist Carl Hellmuth Hertz were intrigued by the idea of using ultrasound technology to achieve more precise heart diagnoses. Supported by Siemens in Erlangen, Germany, they were the first to use the ultrasound technique for echocardiography.

 

Today, this powerful ultrasound process is a standard component of all cardiovascular examinations.

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Cardiac pacemaker, implanted for the first time in 1958

Cardiac pacemaker

In Sweden in 1958, the first cardiac pacemaker was implanted in a critically ill heart patient, who had been suffering up to 20 cardiac arrests daily. The device was developed by Elema-Schönander AB (subsequently Siemens-Elema AB) under the direction of Rune Elmquist. The surgeon Åke Senning performed the operation after previous experiments with dogs.

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The Ultrasound unit Vidoson, 1967

Ultrasound diagnosis

Vidoson is the name of the world’s first ultrasound unit for “real-time” use. It was developed by the German Siemens engineer Ralph Soldner in the 1960s. From 1967 on, the system was produced and sold in Germany.

 

The Vidoson made it possible to observe movements inside the body on a luminescent screen right while they were taking place. The non-invasive sound waves became especially important in obstretrics and pediatrics.

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Siretom, 1975

Computed tomography

In 1974, Siemens exhibited its first tomographic image of a human head at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago. A year later, the company presented its first computed tomography scanner, the Siretom, which produced images of the brain. A typical examination took less than six minutes. The skull was scanned from various directions by an X-ray tube and a detector unit as well as an image of absorption distribution in the brain was generated in the computer.

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First Siemens MRI system MAGNETOM, 1983

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems

Siemens brought the first magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to the market in 1983. The company's MAGNETOM system was installed for the first time in the U.S. and Germany. With the aid of powerful magnetic fields, MRI scanners produce high-quality cross-sectional images without exposing patients to radiation. The sectional images displayed tissues and organs more clearly than ever before.

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The first Siemens PET-CT-Scanner Biograph, 2000

First hybrid systems

Siemens breaks new ground in imaging technology by combining positron emission tomography (PET) with computed tomography (CT). In the innovative hybrid system, a PET scanner visualizes biological processes of life while an integrated CT system provides millimeter-precise anatomical images of tissues and organs. When they come together they reveal the complete picture, detailed anatomy and biological function at the molecular level.

 

In 2000, the Biograph, the world's first commercial PET-CT scanner, is awarded "Innovation of the Year" by the Time magazine.

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Siemens image processing software syngo, 2000

Image processing software

Developed in 1999, Siemens' syngo image processing software offers many advantages for users and facilitates medical examinations by providing a single user interface for a large number of imaging systems – from X-ray devices to magnetic resonance imaging scanners.

 

Syngo is used in hospitals and medical practices to generate and postprocess images. The software integrates patient-specific physiological and imaging data into clinical workflows.

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Human brain image with PET-MR, 2010

Molecular MRI

Launched in 2010, Siemens' Biograph mMR is the first scanner to completely combine MRI and PET technologies in a single device. By enabling the simultaneous acquisition of MRI and PET data, the system offers new possibilities in medical imaging. While MRI provides precise images of the body's organs, PET displays the metabolic activity of cells.

 

The innovative system is particularly valuable in diagnosing diseases in the areas of neurology, oncology and cardiology as well as in therapy planning. It also opens up new possibilities for research – for example, in the development of new biomarkers and new types of therapy.

Highlights from 170 years of Siemens history

Learn about selected events from the company’s history on our History News website, which we’re continually expanding for you.