Scientists Develop New Mobile And Affordable MRI System

Jan, 2022 - By WMR

Scientists Develop New Mobile And Affordable MRI System

New portable MRI machine uses a smaller magnetic field without needing a covering, to diagnose brain diseases in patients

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine is one of the most important clinical device that is used for evaluation of brain diseases and injuries. However, the high cost and large sizes of this systems limits its use regionally. Now a team of scientists at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) developed a comparatively smaller and low-cost MRI machine that uses a smaller magnetic field without needing a covering, for diagnosis of brain diseases in patients.

MRI technique is used to scan soft tissues in the body. It is specifically effective at diagnosis brain related problems such as injuries, stroke, or tumors. The risk of using this technique are also lesser than other imaging methods such as CT scans or X-rays. However, these MRI machines are of high cost and even the maintenance of these systems is expensive. MRI systems also require high amount of power and bulky radiofrequency and magnetic shielding, which makes the use of this technology expensive in many places, specifically in middle-income countries. However, the new mobile MRI technology uses ultra-low magnetic field with strength of 0.055 T, which eliminates the need for magnetic or radiofrequency shielding, with the use of deep learning algorithms to cut down the inference of electromagnetic signals with the magnets.

Furthermore, the smaller size and simplicity of this machines decreases its cost and requirement of power. According to the team, the machine can be operated from a normal power outlet of an AC. The estimated cost of this machine is under US$20,000, and the weight of this machine is 1,653 lb (750 kg), which could be reduced to 1,100 lb (500 kg) with further optimization. There is still lot of further work is required to improve the new mobile MRI system in order to bring it into clinical use.

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