Is that a miniature MRI in your ambulance?

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Imagine an MRI scanner that’s 50 to 60 times cheaper than what’s on the market now, small enough to tote around in a standard ambulance and strong enough to find brain bleeds, stroke damage, tumors and more.

Physicists at Mass General’s Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging are working to prototype just such an apparatus.

In a video posted Feb. 3, Matthew Rosen, PhD, of Harvard tells Stat News his team’s idea is to “take the magnet out of the equation, to turn the magnetic field down as low as possible to make it safe but also at the same time to make it cheaper, lighter and more portable.”

The work-in-progress system replaces the usual cylindrical magnet with opposing magnetic walls and uses, among other “hacky” yet sophisticated innovations, an antenna wrapped in spirals around a cap that fits snugly on the patient’s head.

And, of course, ingenious algorithms.

If the machine ever makes it to market, Rosen expects it will be buildable for around $50,000.

Check it out: