Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become an integral part of medical care throughout much of the world, but access to this technology remains limited. Conventional MRI scanners need dedicated rooms with entry protocols, quench venting, and safety measures and patients have to be taken to where the machine is located, often at a distant corner of a hospital. Earlier this year, Hyperfine, a company with offices in New York City and St Guilford, Connecticut, won the first FDA clearance for a portable MRI that can be taken into patient rooms. Now, the company has obtained FDA clearance for its second-generation portable MRI device, called the Swoop.
As with the original, the Swoop wheels right to the point of care and plugs into a standard three-prong wall outlet. It’s operated through a tablet that’s wirelessly connected to the MRI machine.
The scanner will probably find most use imaging the brain, including for stroke assessment and headaches, but also potentially for imaging peripheral joints and limbs.
Unlike the previous system, the Swoop is indicated for all age groups and has a number of software and usability improvements. According to Hyperfine, the company’s new MRI “costs less than the annual service contract alone for most current MRI systems, and it consumes 35 times less power than those same systems.”
“Six years ago, we had a crazy vision to create a new product category for imaging: an affordable point-of-care MRI system. With this clearance from the FDA, we are launching an astonishing new diagnostic tool for patients and providers in our Swoop™ Portable MRI, and we are delivering on our mission to democratize healthcare across clinical settings and geographies,” said Jonathan Rothberg, PhD, founder and chairman of Hyperfine Research, in a press release.