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Scientists develop brain scanner in a helmet

British scientists have evolved a light-weight and extremely delicate brain imaging instrument that may be worn as a helmet, permitting the affected person to transport about naturally.

Results from checks of the scanner confirmed that sufferers have been ready to stretch, nod or even drink tea or play desk tennis whilst their brain task was once being recorded, millisecond through millisecond, through the magnetoencephalography (MEG) machine.

Researchers who evolved the instrument and revealed their effects in the magazine Nature mentioned they was hoping the brand new scanner would reinforce analysis and remedy for sufferers who can’t use conventional fastened MEG scanners, equivalent to youngsters with epilepsy, young children, or sufferers with issues like Parkinson’s illness.

“This has the potential to revolutionize the brain imaging field and transform the scientific and clinical questions that can be addressed with human brain imaging,” mentioned Gareth Barnes, a professor on the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Neuroimaging at University College London, who co-led the paintings.


Current MEG scanners are bulky and weigh up to part a tonne, in part since the sensors they use to measure the brain’s magnetic box want to be saved very chilly – at minus 269 levels Celsius, Barnes’ staff defined.

They additionally run into difficulties when sufferers are not able to stick very nonetheless – very small children or sufferers with motion issues for instance – since even a Five-millimeter motion can imply the photographs are unusable.

In the helmet scanner, the researchers overcame those issues through the use of quantum sensors, which can be light-weight, paintings at room temperature and will also be positioned without delay onto scalp – expanding the quantity of sign they can select up.


Matt Brookes, who labored with Barnes and constructed the prototype at Nottingham University, mentioned that in addition to overcoming the problem of a few sufferers being not able to stick nonetheless, the wearable scanner gives new probabilities in measuring peoples’ brain serve as throughout actual global duties and social interactions.

“This has significant potential for impact on our understanding of not only healthy brain function but also on a range of neurological, neurodegenerative and mental health conditions.”

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