Wearable MRI scanner can diagnose cancer—and may eventually read minds

A new device that functions the same way as an MRI machine could change the way clinicians diagnose cancer and heart disease. Its developers also say it could eventually read people's minds. 

Openwater, a San Francisco-based start-up, has developed the new wearable scanning device that uses infrared light to scan five to six inches into the body, according to a recent article by the Financial Times.  

"The tool can be used to spot a tumor by detecting the surrounding blood vessels and to see where arteries are clogged," according to story. "One day, it could follow the flow of oxygenated blood to different areas of the brain, tracking our thoughts and desires."   

Openwater founder and CEO Mary Lou Jepsen told the Financial Times that the new device is cheaper than a standard MRI machine with higher resolution. The device's operation benefits from tiny pixel size on display screens, physics focusing on the ability to assess the scattering of light and analyzing oxygenated blood flow to determine brain activity.

Jepsen, a former holograms and virtual reality expert for Google and Facebook, expects the device will have little trouble being approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration because it uses infrared light technology, which has already been used in numerous clinical settings.

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