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Wednesday, July 6, 2022
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Raising the Floor Beyond All Expectations

As important as it is for us to move forward under all circumstances, we can’t do it without having full knowledge of our present. You see, if we don’t really know how the existing dynamic is shaping up, we cannot build upon it in a meaningful manner. However, gleaning this knowledge is easier said than done. Over the years, humans have made numerous mistakes during the said process, thus setting themselves up for a lengthy list of failures. To avoid facing a similar fate again and again, the word brought in some tools into the fold, each one designed to help us in a different way. Now, the move did work out big time, but every by-product to emerge from it actually falls pale in front of a certain creation called technology. Notably enough, though, technology’s success isn’t just based on aiding our understanding. Instead, it also has a lot to do with how the creation really transformed our future prospects throughout the entire spectrum. One area, however, where it made its strongest impact was the medical sector. Before technology’s takeover, medical sector had an identity of being inefficient and inconvenient beyond all expectations. This would change rather dramatically, as we were ushered into a whole new reality. While the technology-healthcare linkup now has every achievement in the bag, it is still moving towards something better, and Boston University’s latest brainchild does a lot to back that up.

The researching team at Boston University has successfully developed a metamaterial-driven helmet, which can be used during a brain scan for more in-depth MRI results. Apart from significantly bolstering the end-product quality, the helmet also introduces a faster, and yet more economically feasible, way of going about your MRI. It’s natural for someone to have a little hesitation around using cheaper alternatives when the context is as sensitive as this one, but by dialing up signal-to-noise ratio, the Boston University’s new creation ensures that the captured image is only better.

“Experimental validation is performed in a clinical 3T MRI system, demonstrating that the metamaterials enable a marked boost in radiofrequency field strength under resonance-matched conditions, ultimately yielding a dramatic increase in the signal-to-noise ratio of MRI,” said Professor Xin Zhang, lead researcher of the study.

Metamaterials have long fascinated the medical stratosphere. Made from small unit cells known as resonators, they tend to come in different shapes and sizes. Once you group them all together, though, they generate a level of sync, which can absorb and manipulate radio, sound, and electromagnetic waves. For the helmet, researchers used 3D-printed plastic tubes to make magnetic metamaterial resonators. Each one of these resonators is reportedly covered in copper wires and arranged specially to align with the magnetic field of an MRI scanner.

“The tunable metamaterials offer a novel pathway toward the practical utilization of metamaterials in MRI, as well as a range of other emerging applications,” the researchers noted.

There is hope among the researchers that the technology will eventually have enough in the tank to work with low-field MRI scanners. Assuming the said goal is realized, people living in underdeveloped areas will also end up getting a fair shot at reaping its benefits.

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