A team of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology Engineering (Fraunhofer-Institut für Biomedizinische Technik IBMT) in Sankt Ingbert, Germany along with Magritek, a Kiwi firm, has been developing tiny MRI machines using permanent magnets in a specific alignment. It is not clear yet what the medical implications for this imaging modality would be. We imagine one can view ingrown toe nails with one of these.
The Magnetic Resonance working group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology Engineering IBMT in Sankt Ingbert has made magnetic resonance imaging mobile. They collaborated with the New Zealand company Magritek to develop small portable devices. Dr. Frank Volke, head of the Magnetic Resonance working group, explains the core technology: "Instead of the large superconducting magnets that have to be cooled with liquid helium and nitrogen, extra-strong permanent magnets are installed in our devices. There is no need for cooling anymore." To make this possible, several permanent magnets are so arranged that the magnetic field lines overlap to form a homogeneous field. In this way, the developers have succeeded in developing small, less expensive, and above all portable magnetic resonance spectrometers that can even be powered by batteries.