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MRI Visual Communication System



The MRI Visual Communication System came to VehiCLE to communicate with impaired hearing patients during MRI exams.  This issue arises because hearing aids cannot be worn during an MRI.  Additionally, for thoracic MRIs in particular, the patient must hold their breath during scans and must be directed by the MRI technician as to when to hold breath and when to breathe freely. Finally, all components needed to be MRI safe, meaning we could not incorporate steel, iron, electrical wires, or components that would impede MRI imaging.

Our design consists of a light engine in the technician’s room with buttons to light up different colors.  The light engine has colored LEDs that shine into fiber optic cables that run to the patient room’s the communication device. The communication device is mounted on an MRI safe pole with an extendable arm and loc-line to adjust the angle of the device.  A custom right-angle flashlight is incorporated at the end of the fiber optic cables to disperse the light into the stoplight communication device.  The result is that the technician can press one of the colored buttons on the light engine in their room, and the patient will see the same light turn on in their room.  Using these lights, the technician can communicate when to breathe freely, prepare to hold breath, and hold breath.  

This design was created in-house and tested in multiple sites nationwide.

                                       Front View:

                                    Front View Lit Up     


Light Engine:                                          Full Stand Extended:

Next Steps:
The MRI Visual Communication System will continue to be tested in MRI clinics, and will be marketed to outside companies for licensing.

Provisional Patent Application: 63/514,273

Technology Transfer Specialist: Pattie Cullum (