Smaller, portable scanners are popping up in many different areas. Some are marketed to reach the average consumer who would rather scan and digitize their personal items.

Handheld image scanners are suitable for recording any kind of document, including letters, invoices, blueprints and plans. Typically, a handheld image scanner requires you to place the device face down on whatever document you wish to capture, and then slowly move the scanner across the page.

Many scanners use optical character recognition technology. A normal image scanner can save a page as an image file that can be manipulated or reprinted. However, editing, searching, or importing the actual text on the page requires a further step. OCR scanners search the image file for letters and numbers and can output the result into a text file or electronic document that can then be manipulated as necessary.  Some OCR scanners are pen readers, and the tip of the device is run over the lines of text to scan and transmit the characters into a computer system.Portable Scanner

Even beyond scanning documents, portable scanners could boost point-of-care brain MRI’s. The ability to perform a whole-brain MRI scan at the point-of-care for patients with mobility challenges could soon become a reality with a portable, lightweight device now under development by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The conventional MRI scanners are not at all accommodating for patients with limited mobility or that are bedridden. To help alleviate this obstacle, researchers have long sought to develop a portable, smaller device to image extremities and other regions of the body. Redesigning components and reconfiguring hardware requirements may be a slow process, but the end result will be a portable system that can reach a larger number of patients.

The low-field, helmet-like scanner could overcome large-scale financial investments and structural requirements of siting conventional, long-bore, 1.5- and 3-tesla MRI systems. What’s more, the developers believe the work-in-progress system will ultimately yield diagnostic-quality images and enable healthy outcomes for patients.

MIT researchers began this project to scale down MRI technology back in 2010, led by principal investigator Larry Wald. According to Wald, he, McDaniel, and their MIT colleagues are attempting a “quantum leap to handheld devices” for MRI – similar to the evolution and redesign of other modalities, including ultrasound.

By 2017, the researchers developed a second iteration of their compact whole-brain magnet, complete with gradient and radiofrequency (RF) coils, as well as other components to perform scans on healthy human subjects.

The MR images produced by the second-generation device were encouraging. McDaniel compared the results to T2-weighted and turbo spin-echo images, adding that second-hand opinions from various radiologists declared the images were “pretty good.” He stopped short of making any claims regarding the diagnostic quality of the images, except to say they “internally were received very well.”

Even with the second-generation scanner, there were some flaws in the images. The images where stretched out, blurred or squished together. The researchers are hopeful that a third-generation design will be able to address and mitigate these problems.

The technology’s third version is smaller and lighter than its preceding prototype and is designed to not sacrifice head imaging performance. The third-generation system is a standalone, helmet-shaped scanner that includes a magnet and coils just like the essential hardware on a conventional MRI scanner – only much smaller.

When completed, the device is expected to weigh approximately 75 pounds with an outer diameter of approximately 37 cm and length of 37 cm. The inner dimension is closer to 25 cm, which would accommodate a slightly above average-size human head. The device stays stationary, so a patient would slide into the helmet for scanning.

No matter what kind of portable scanners you are developing, we have a wide variety of lens assemblies that could meet your need. If you are interested in a custom, precision lens design, we are here to help. Our engineers work alongside your development team to create the perfect lens for you.