With increasing computer power, an MRI machine of the future might be the size of a cell phone. The raw data from this cell phone would be sent wirelessly to a supercomputer, which would process the data from the weak magnetic field and then create a 3D image. (So the weakness of the magnetic field is compensated by the increase in computer power.) This then could vastly accelerate research. “Perhaps something like the Star Trek tricorder is not so far off after all,” Dr. Blumich has said. (The Tricorder is a small, handheld scanning device that gives instant diagnoses of any illness.) In the future, you may have more computer power in your medicine cabinet than in a modern university hospital today. Instead of waiting to get permission from a hospital or university to use an expensive MRI machine, one could gather data in your own living room by simply waving the portable MRI over yourself and then e-mailing the results to a lab for analysis.
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