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MRI Simulator

The MRI simulator or “mock magnet” suite is available to investigators to acclimate research subjects, prepare experimental paradigms, and train research staff for actual MRI studies. The mock magnet simulates the real MRI scanner and introduces research subjects, including normal and clinical populations, children and adults, to the scanning environment. This permits subjects to gradually become accustomed to the scanning procedure and trained to minimize movement.  Allowing subjects to acclimate to the scanner before the actual imaging session helps to prepare them, and encourages calmer and more focused performance, which ultimately results in more productive and cost effective scanning sessions.  The simulator can also be used to develop and test experimental paradigms, and to quickly train new researchers to run the experimental session in a safe and controlled environment, minimizing the use of costly scanner time for set-up and training.

mockMRIOur mock magnet (BrainLogics, Model C05, PST, Inc) has a bore diameter of 22” (56cm) (height from table to top of bore is 16.5” (42 cm)), and utilizes a genuine Siemens Tim Trio head coil assembly with mounted mirror system.  The simulator is equipped with a remote controlled motorized patient table (designed to support a maximum weight of 275 pounds), realistic in-bore fans and lighting, and a sound system that mimics the vibrations and pulse sequence noises of an MR imager (BrainLogics SimEffects, PST Inc.).  Scanner trigger pulses can be simulated and transferred to stimulus presentation software using a SyncBox (NordicNeuroLab), enabling researchers to better develop and test experimental paradigms in the mock scanner.

The experimental setup includes, headphones and rear-mounted monitor for auditory and visual stimulus presentation, and a five-key button box response unit. Experimental stimuli are presented via laptop computer supplied by the research team, or by a DVD player. Computer generated stimuli are simultaneously presented to the subject and to an additional monitor and headphone set for the experimenter.  Child-friendly scanner decorations are available for training young children. A comfortable observation area allows family members or caregivers to view the procedure from inside the mock scanner room.

The MRI simulator is located in William James Hall (Room 18).  A second mock scanner will be located in the Northwest Neuroimaging Facility. The MRI simulator is available at no cost to all Harvard investigators doing or preparing to do MRI research.

  • Motorized patient table, with remote control
  • Siemens head coil with mirror
  • Realistic fans and lighting
  • Magnet sound simulation (SimEffects)
  • Rear mounted monitor for visual stimulus presentation
  • Headphones for audio presentation
  • Headphones and monitor that mirror stimuli being presented to subject
  • Hookup for experimenter laptop for stimulus presentation
  • DVD for stimulus presentation
  • Five key button box response device
  • SyncBox for syncing experimental paradigm to simulated scanner pulse
  • Comfortable in-room observation area for subject’s family members or caregivers
  • Optional child-friendly decorations

revised 02/2007 jmg