Magnetic Proximity Sensor System and Associated Methods of Sensing a Magnetic Field
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides an unparalleled window into the human body and is highly regarded as a safe and effective medical technique. There is however a potential for interaction between the magnetic field generated by the MRI instrument and ferrous metal objects, either internal or external to the patient. External metal objects, in particular, may become projectiles capable of causing injury, and even death, to persons within the path of the accelerating object. In one well-publicized 2001 accident, a six year-old boy undergoing MRI was killed when an oxygen tank was pulled into the bore of the scanner.
To improve the safety of MRI facilities, Dartmouth inventors have developed systems and methods to provide a warning when a metal object encounters a magnetic field of predetermined strength (e.g., 5 gauss). The Dartmouth systems are inexpensive to manufacture and compact enough to mount to each metal object, within a hospital or clinical setting, that could enter an MRI suite, e.g., an IV pole, oxygen tank, crash cart, etc. The disclosed systems utilize sensors, such as magnetic reed switches or Hall Effect sensors, to measure an external field. An alarm feature is activated when the measured field exceeds the predetermined threshold.
In addition to improving MRI safety, the disclosed systems may also be used by companies and universities housing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) instruments and/or by people with pacemakers, so that they do not unknowingly encounter strong magnetic fields.
This technology is claimed in a pending patent application. We are seeking an industrial partner interested in its licensing and commercialization. (Ref: J345)
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