British researchers have developed a portable scanner, in the form of a 3D-printed helmet equipped with miniature sensors capable of detecting the magnetic field generated by the brain. This prototype of a portable scanner, which can produce brain images of people in motion, has been tested on subjects drinking tea or playing ball, reports Science Daily.
Until now, the magnetoencephalography (MEG) technique was only accessible through a machine weighing almost half a ton, in which the subject had to remain perfectly still. Researchers at the Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, University of Nottingham and the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging, University College of London (UCL) hope to make the technique accessible to children and people suffering from neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. The prototype scanner could also allow researchers to observe momentary neurological events such as epileptic seizures and the behavior of the brain during common social situations, such as a conversation.
The production of the prototype was made possible using quantic sensors attached to customizable 3D-printed helmet. The sensors are placed directly in contact with the patient’s skull, making the system more accurate than the existing MEG technique.
Researchers are currently working on developing new styles of helmets that could be worn by babies and children.