US company Hyperfine recently received FDA approval for their groundbreaking mobile point-of-care MRI scanner.
Run-of-the-mill MRI machines are massive, permanent installations requiring liquid helium-cooled cryogenic superconducting coils and giant power supplies, whereas the Hyperfine machine can be rolled into a room and be plugged into a typical wall socket in a manner similar to existing portable Ultrasound and X-ray machines, without the hazardous ionising radiation of the former. Clinicians requiring quick turnaround medical imaging will no longer have to rely solely on X-ray based CT scans.
From the patent documents, the design appears to use permanent magnets to generate a basic B0 magnetic field, then an array of electromagnets is used to give it more power and to kick it into shape – MRI needs an incredibly consistent and homogenous magnetic field of a type typically difficult to achieve with permanent magnets alone.
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