Wearable MRI still in the works

After leaving high-profile technology jobs with Facebook Oculus and Google X, Mary Lou Jepsen, PhD, resurfaced in September at a wearable-technology conference in Boston. She said her current company, Openwater, is forging ahead with its plan to develop wearable MRI devices that will use holograms to produce better-than-MRI-quality images at a fraction of the cost.

“Think of a rock in the middle of a shallow, circular pool with dozens of children splashing around the ring of the pool, creating ripples. Sensors in the pool measure how those ripples bounce, fragment, and scatter as they roll over the rock,” the website Quartz reports in explaining Jepsen’s vision. “By analyzing the patterns of how the ripples break and scatter against the rock, one could reconstruct what the rock looked like. That’s what Openwater wants to do but with near infrared light instead of water, and instead of imaging a rock, it’ll be imaging our bodies and our brains.”

Quartz underscores the upside from patients’ point of view: They’ll be able to trade lying motionless inside a “clicking metal coffin” for a not-unenjoyable experience wearing a special shirt or skullcap.

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