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Micro MRI sensor can detect electromagnetic signals in brain

MIT engineers developed a new technique to detect electromagnetic signals in the brain by using micro MRI sensor. Usually MRI is used to measure changes in blood flow that indirectly represent but researchers found new MRI sensor that can detect tiny electrical signals as well as light.

A student at MIT, Aviad Hai said “This micro sensor does not require any wired connection in the brain. We can implant the sensor and just leave it there”.

The sensor can detect the electromagnetic signals with accurate spatial resolution and researchers used a tiny radio antenna to receive radio waves generated by hydrogen atoms in brain tissues. Along with this it is also used to measure light and chemicals such as glucose. 

The advantages of the sensor is:

  1. It is accurate
  2. The sensor is self-sufficient
  3. It does not require additional power

The researchers then tuned the sensor to the same frequency as the radio waves emitted by hydrogen atoms. After sensor picks up an electromagnetic signals from tissues, the sensor tuning changes and the sensor no longer matched the frequency of the hydrogen atoms. 

In their research they demonstrated that the sensors can detect electrical signals similar to those produced by action potentials or local field potentials. In Future researchers have planned to make their sensors even smaller and they also plan to use sensor to detect nuclear signals in the brain and detect electromagnetic signals in the body such as muscle contractions etc.

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