MRI system


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the gold standard medical imaging technology for soft tissue, used worldwide for diagnosing and examining many medical conditions. However, access to this technology is limited due to the high costs of purchase and installation of these large machines. From a patient’s perspective, the extended period they must lie down and remain motionless enclosed in the magnet bore can be a source of considerable anxiety before and during the scan. Patients have identified claustrophobia caused by the supine position inside the scanner especially when entering the scanner head first, a feeling of lack of control, and a fear of suffocation as significant negative factors in their MRI experience.

Project Goal

This work was part of a multinational project to develop a new head-only MRI scanner led by the University of Minnesota in the USA. The new MRI scanner includes a compact superconducting magnet design and significantly reduces overall power consumption, infrastructure and space needed to support the system. The design and UX approach was based on “human-centred design” to determine and incorporate clinical and user requirements. The final prototype allows a seated position and contributes to a feeling of control due to allowing the patient to control the patient positioning elements. As part of the project I helped develop the final patient handling system. We used an iterative design approach to develop and refine the different elements including the user experience of the final prototype.


We developed a system which consisted of a moveable seat element as well as an inflatable head support design to support individual users as part of the system. The system allows the user (patient) to be in control of the speed of moving in and out of the MRI scanner and addresses previous negative user experience factors such as a lack of control. The inflatable head reduces head movement during the scanning procedure to enable high-quality MRI scans.


Research project for:
Victoria University of Wellington & Robinson Research Institute (New Zealand)
Project Lead:
Edgar R. Rodriguez-Ramirez and Ben Parkinson
B a c k T o T o p B a c k T o T o p

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