The Silicon Review
24 March, 2018
Recently, British scientists in Nottingham, have invented a new type of brain scanner that can be worn on the head, allowing patients to move while being scanned.
The technique is called MEG (Magnetoencephalography) and, the device records tiny magnetic fields generated by the brain.
The researchers have declared that the device could pin-point the part of the brain responsible for activities like nodding, drinking tea and playing bat and ball.
Imaging human brain function with techniques such as MEG, typically requires a subject to perform tasks while their head remains still, within a restrictive scanner.
MEG has been around for decades, but conventional scanners are large, weighing half a ton. The sensors used to measure the brain's magnetic fields have to be super-cooled to minus 269°C.
The wearable MEG uses lightweight quantum sensors mounted in a 3D printed helmet.
The sensors work at room temperature and can be placed directly on the scalp, which greatly increases the signal they can pick up. All MEG has to be done in a special room which is shielded from much of the Earth's magnetic field.
"For children with epilepsy, this technology will be incredibly beneficial. Doctors can scan them while they are moving around and that's never been done before." says Prof. Gareth Barnes, University College London.
Wearable MEG scanner will also be useful in imaging patients with Parkinson's disease, as suggested by the researchers.
The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust and developed at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre in Nottingham.
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