An affordable, coin-sized device could boost the performance of existing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines – recording electro-physiological signals and performing multiple imaging scans simultaneously. Being developed by Purdue-affiliated startup MR-Link LLC, the device learns when to start and stop recording to capture useful signals during MRI operation.

Ranajay Mandal, a graduate student in Purdue University’s Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering; Nishant Babaria, graduate student in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Zhongming Liu, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and of biomedical engineering, co-founded MR-Link.

“What we’ve developed is a coin-sized device that can be safely used in an MRI system to enable all other imaging technologies. The device is very powerful and allows researchers to record, stimulate, and image the brain or other organs through the MRI system. This way the patient can be monitored for more than one thing at a time and the doctor can obtain much more information all at once,” Mandal says.

The device has potential to significantly improve the safety, efficacy, and precision of medical diagnostics for patients who suffer from diseases such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and depression.

Babaria says one of the main benefits of the device is its affordability. “We expect our device to cost a few thousand dollars, a tenfold decrease from current technologies. There needs to be a general trend for affordable technology in developing countries so that more people in the world can benefit from technological advancements.”

Liu notes, “MRIs have enough magnetic force to lift 10 cars into the air, so the less magnetic field you bring into the environment, the safer it will be for clinicians and patients. Our device could eliminate the health risks from magnetic fields and give more accurate signal quality. The device is wireless and directly powered and operated by the MRI.”

MR-Link has developed its first working device and is seeking funding and beta testers to move the technology forward.

“We’re going through the software integration process right now. Once it is finalized, we will start the beta testing process,” Mandal says. “Funding is important at this point to secure our next few years and keep making progress. We’re also open to partnering with companies specialized in testing MRI device safety or any other company that may be able to help.”

Technology used by MR-Link has been licensed through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization. The company has received assistance from the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park’s Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.


Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization