Leapfrog light and hologram based MRI technology will scan the brain or body bit by bit or voxel by voxel.
This light-based system will not only be vastly smaller and cheaper than existing magnetic MRI, it will also have vastly higher resolution.
This is enabled by LCDs with pixels small enough to create reconstructive holographic images that neutralize the scattering and enable scanning at MRI resolution and depth coupled with the use of body-temperature detectors. These LCDs and detectors line the inside of a ski-hat, bandage or other clothing. They are making our own sub-components to do this in the vast factories that make the world’s consumer electronics- custom designed to both record and even to modulate the interference of intensity and phase in the near infrared regime with the video-rate computer-generated holograms integrated with embedded detectors. They can scan out the brain or body systematically or selectively. This basic system can be used in reverse, to write, to focus light to any area of interest in the body or brain (to irradiate tumors for example).
This technology enables continuous scanning of the body and brain in the form of a true wearable the size of a ski-hat or bandage. The implications of this architecture are profound for healthcare and can even enable communication with thought alone (as has been well documented by neuroscientists using the room size MRI scanners). With read/write ability – we may be able to upload/download and augment our memories, thoughts, and emotions with a ski-hat form factor, non-invasively.
Existing MRI are room sized, expensive and on average ten years old
On average, 50% of the installed MRI base will be replaced within 11 years of their installation with an average replacement cycle of 11.5 years, ranging from three to 22+ years. The general feeling is that one out of every five MRI systems is older than 10 years.
It is currently possible to get MRI systems within the price range of 30,000 to 500,000 euro.
The cheapest possible MRI system is the Esaote C-Scan, which is an office MRI scanner. It is an excellent choice for orthopedists who need good images of extremities. This system does not acquire any additional shielding, therefore, it can be installed in a small office.
At the other end of the scale, there are newer systems that are 5- to 7-year-old, which are the most common, younger aged MRI systems on the used market. Here we talk about systems with zero boiloff magnets and high gradients, and some systems can be a wide bore.
Low-field MRI scanners include the 0.2T, 0.3T, and the 0.4T MRIs. They are usually open bore MRIs. The image quality is relatively low, and they require longer scan times compared to the high-field MRI scanners.
The used 0.3T to 0.4T MRIs cost almost twice as much as the 0.2Tesla. The current price range of the systems on the used market is 200 – 300 thousand euros. These MRIs are used for full body examinations.
3 Tesla machines generate a magnetic field that is twice the strength of 1.5T MRIs machines and 10 to 15 times the strength of low-field or open MRI scanners. One of the biggest advantages of the 3T MRI machine is its ability to reduce image noise. In addition, the 3T MRIs are great for visualizing very fine details, such as the vessels of the brain or heart.
3 Tesla MRIs produced before 2006 cost around 200 thousand euros such as the Philips Achieva and Philips Intera.
3 Tesla MRI from 2008 and onwards are double the price, they can cost from 400 to 500 thousand euros.
MRI systems must be operated by professional and training costs thousands of dollars.
A helium-cooled MRI has high costs for helium.
There are costs for electricity.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.