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For immediate release: 05 December 2023





Advanced MRI scanners being developed by University of California Berkeley will allow doctors and scientists to see the brain in greater detail than ever before which could lead to ground breaking treatments for brain disorders such as degenerative diseases, schizophrenia and developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders.


Two Scottish companies have been instrumental in the development of the equipment used in the NextGen 7T scanner for the university, Wideblue and MR Coiltech, both based in Glasgow.  Wideblue is a leading medical device product consultancy and MR Coilech is a world leader in high-density MRI head coil development.


Results of images produced by the University using the scanners have been published in the prestigious peer reviewed journal Nature Methods.  The paper reports that the innovative design of the RF head coils helps achieve a tenfold better resolution for functional MRI brain imaging.  This means that scientists can see functional MRI features at an isotropic resolution of 0.4mm across compared to the 2-3mm which is achieved by standard MRI.  The scanner can reach this much higher resolution by using 128 sensor coils compared to 32 in a standard MRI scanner.  The advanced scanner records up to 10 times more detail than current 7T scanners and over 50 times more detail than current 3T scanners commonly used in hospitals world-wide.


The lead researcher at Berkeley, David Feinberg, said:


"The NexGen 7T scanner is a new tool that allows us to look at the brain circuitry underlying different diseases of the brain with higher spatial resolution in fMRI, diffusion and structural imaging, and therefore to perform human neuroscience research at higher granularity. This puts UC Berkeley at the forefront of human neuroimaging research,"


Headded: "The ultra-high resolution scanner will allow research on underlying changes in brain circuitry in a multitude of brain disorders, including degenerative diseases, schizophrenia and developmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder."


Wideblue were responsible for the detailed mechanical design to fit up to 96 Radio Frequency (RF) sensor coils into the space normally occupied by 32 RF sensor coils found in standard MRI scanners.  The electronics were designed by MR Coiltech and the equipment was assembled and tested at MR Coiltech's premises at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.


Dr Shajan Gunanmony, CEO, MR Coiltechsaid "We are delighted with the design work undertaken by Wideblue. This is a very complex 3D advanced electronics product and achieving 96 channels within such a small space was a real challenge. The resulting image quality obtained with our product at the University of Berkeley speak for themselves and are the forefront of research anywhere in the world".


For further information:


For a more detailed report please see Nature Methods: )




Notes to Editors


About Wideblue


For more than 15 years Wideblue has been at the forefront of medical device design using its skills in product design, mechanical, electronic and software design, physics, optics and photonics to help its clients turn their ideas into award-winning devices.


Clients include individuals, start-ups, technology research organisations, charities and social enterprises  as well as global multinationals.  Medical device projects have ranged from a personal capnometer and heated stretcher to a device for the early detection of sepsis and a low-cost ophthalmoscope.


The Glasgow-based firm is part of Pivot International. Founded in Kansas City in 1972, Pivot International started as a product design and development engineering firm. It was one of the first U.S. product development firms to engage with global sourcing, opening a procurement office in Taiwan in 1985 and a manufacturing division in the Philippines in 1989. Pivot offers services in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, software design, industrial design, project management, contract manufacturing, electronic manufacturing services (EMS), prototyping, supply chain management, data management, business development, and regulatory compliance. Pivot has more than50years of expertise in the field of product development and manufacturing. Positioned as a world leader in outsourced product development and manufacturing, Pivot offers the seamless convenience of working with a U.S. company and the financial advantages of utilising its own in-house, offshore, tooling procurement and manufacturing




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