Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a medical imaging technique that uses powerful magnetic fields and radio waves to generate detailed, intricate 3-dimensional images of the organs and tissues inside the body. These machines are large and tubular and patients lie inside the machine where magnetic fields temporarily realign the water molecules inside them. The applied radio waves then cause these aligned water molecules to emit signals, which are then used by the machine to put together cross-sectional images, which can then be viewed by medical staff at any angle.
Though MRIs are an integral tool for making a clinical diagnosis for a wide array of conditions, not everyone is able to access it, as MRI machines are operated only in specialized facilities. Recently, the company Hyperfine has released FDA clearance for the first portable MRI machine that can be easily wheeled directly to where the patient is — a device called the Swoop™.
Compared to 13,000 lb standard MRI machines, the Swoop™ is relatively tiny, weighing in at around 1,400 lbs and plugging right into standard electrical wall outlets in hospital rooms. The device can be operated wirelessly via a tablet. Another benefit, says the creators, is the cost to healthcare providers, with the Swoop™ costing less than the annual service contract alone for current MRI systems and consumes 35 times less power. Such point-of-care technologies are revolutionizing the patient experience, allowing for a higher standard of care across all age ranges, physical conditions, and mobilities.
Jonathan Rothberg, PhD, founder and chairman of Hyperfine Research says transformative technologies such as the Swoop™ are born out of out-of-the-box thinking, saying, “Six years ago, we had a crazy vision to create a new product category for imaging: an affordable point-of-care MRI system.”
“With this clearance from the FDA, we are launching an astonishing new diagnostic tool for patients and providers in our Swoop™ Portable MRI, and we are delivering on our mission to democratize healthcare across clinical settings and geographies,” Rothberg adds.