Low-cost MRI System for Teaching Conference Paper uri icon


  • Magnetic resonance imaging instrumentation is taught at Texas A&M University through the ECEN 463 course and its graduate level equivalent. This class guides students through several labs where they design their own desktop MRI system using various hardware components and LabVIEW. Because the system uses professional grade equipment, the cost of each lab station is high. As a result, there are only four lab stations available, which limits the class to 32 students. The equipment also contains parts that have become obsolete, inhibiting the ability to maintain the system long term. This project focuses on using easily accessible and more affordable equipment for the MRI system. It can also potentially provide opportunities for remote learning, where students could work on assignments off-campus. Other projects have aimed to design low-cost MRI systems with an emphasis on clinical applications or which require advanced FPGA programming skills or pre-programmed modules. This project will develop the MRI instrumentation with updated off-the-shelf components. The current equipment will be replaced with two Analog Discovery 2 devices, which are low-cost teaching tools. It will also feature inexpensive transmit and receive chains, off-the-shelf gradient amplifiers suitable for teaching, gradient coils for signal localization, and a lighter-weight Halbach magnet. In this stage of the project, projections and images have been captured using a 0.06T permanent magnet. In addition to validating successful system operation, each lab of the course will be integrated with current materials to comply with the new equipment. Hardware and software resources will also be prepared and scaled to meet classroom needs and ensure a smooth transition. The goal of the project is to use the new system starting in the fall 2023 semester.Clinical Relevance This project shows that low-cost equipment can be implemented into a working MRI system. The intent for this project may be educationally focused, but it shows that extremely light and low-cost systems can be created. It may be reconstructed to have a deployable system that could be used in the field.

name of conference

  • 2023 45th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBC)

published proceedings

  • 2023 45th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine & Biology Society (EMBC)

author list (cited authors)

  • Carroll, J. M., Reed Smoot, M., Bauer, C. C., Hou, J., & Wright, S. M.

complete list of authors

  • Carroll, Jacob M||Reed Smoot, Meredith||Bauer, Courtney C||Hou, Jue||Wright, Steven M

publication date

  • July 2023