Researchers build an MRI machine in just 4 days

New York University researchers and faculty have built a functional MRI machine in just four days at the inaugural MRI4ALL Hackathon.

It took a set of 990 magnets arranged to produce a stable field, loops of wire for spatial encoding of the magnetic resonance signal, a radio frequency transmitter and receiver, and software to control the components and display images, according to a news release from event host NYU Langone Radiology.

More than 50 researchers convened for the inaugural MRI4ALL Hackathon to assemble a low-cost functional MRI scanner in only four days. Photo courtesy of NYU Langone.More than 50 researchers convened for the inaugural MRI4ALL Hackathon to assemble a low-cost functional MRI scanner in only four days. Photo courtesy of NYU Langone.

A total of 52 participants divided into four groups built the 80-lb (36.3-kg) MRI machine to be roughly 2 ft (61 cm)  wide and with an opening large enough to fit a wrist or ankle. The cost of the components was estimated to be $15,000 (14,000 euros).

To put their model to the test, researchers used a "phantom" water-filled test object.

“Eventually, after resolving multiple technical issues, the scanner produced correct reconstructions of the phantom,” said Kai Tobias Block, PhD, an associate professor of radiology for NYU Langone Health. “That was the result we were hoping for.”

See more on the project website, here.

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