With XXL X-ray machine: cipher machines are x-rayed

Munich/Fuerth – Its interior is top secret, but now experts have x-rayed historical cipher machines in an XXL X-ray machine.

In doing so, they hope to gain a better understanding of the construction and functioning of 60 of these devices from the collection of the Deutsches Museum in Munich.

Among them is the Enigma used by the Nazis and its lesser-known successor, the key device 41. “The Enigma has been researched quite well, but other encryption devices simply cannot be opened non-destructively,” said the cryptography curator at the Deutsches Museum, Carola Dahlke , in a statement on Tuesday. This applies above all to devices from the early days of computers.

The images from the special computer tomograph at the Fraunhofer Development Center for X-ray Technology in Fürth are used to create 3D models made up of thousands of individual images.

According to the museum, this allows you to view the models from every perspective, rotate them and even zoom in on them. In the future, visitors should also be able to view them on the website or via an app.


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