We love reporting the latest cutting-edge medical inventions here at The Optimist Daily. In the past few months, we’ve written about an antibiotic-resistant sensor that drastically reduces diagnosis time and a magnetic device for better prosthetic limb control. This time we want to tell you about a bizarre-looking helmet that has the potential to revolutionize brain scanning.
Thanks to the playful design, the piece of headwear looks like it’s straight from a mad scientist’s laboratory, but there is a method to the madness. The helmet is composed of a metamaterial. This means it is made up of many smaller units called resonators, that come together to create a spectacular super network.
The helmet can bend and absorb a number of types of waves, including electromagnetic, sound, and radio waves. Depending on how you construct your repeating pattern of resonators, you can target a desired wave type. Further details on how the team constructed the device are discussed in their paper, published in Advanced Materials.
The uses of these magnificent metamaterials spread far and wide. Xin Zhang, the inventor of the helmet, explains how this device could hugely improve MRI image quality, improving medical diagnosis and reducing costs in time and money. Additionally, these can be designed as an acoustic material that blocks sound while still allowing airflow, leading the way for the invention of quieter airplane engines and air conditioners.
The group created the resonators out of 3-D printed plastic tubes, then wrapped copper wiring to precisely order them. The supplies needed to create this metamaterial are relatively cheap and accessible anywhere in the world, potentially aiding developing nations in making healthcare more efficient and accessible.
Source study: Advanced Materials – Auxetics-Inspired Tunable Metamaterials for Magnetic Resonance Imaging