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Moving magnetoencephalography towards real-world applications with a wearable system

Boto, Elena; Holmes, Niall; Leggett, James; Roberts, Gillian; Shah, Vishal; Meyer, Sofie S.; Duque Muñoz, Leonardo; Mullinger, Karen J.; Tierney, Tim M.; Bestmann, Sven; Barnes, Gareth R.; Bowtell, Richard W.; Brookes, Matthew J.


Elena Boto

Sven Bestmann

Gareth R. Barnes

Richard W. Bowtell

Matthew J. Brookes

Niall Holmes

James Leggett

Gillian Roberts

Vishal Shah

Sofie S. Meyer

Leonardo Duque Muñoz

Karen J. Mullinger

Tim M. Tierney


Imaging human brain function with techniques such as magnetoencephalography1 (MEG) typically requires a subject to perform tasks whilst their head remains still within a restrictive scanner. This artificial environment makes the technique inaccessible to many people, and limits the experimental questions that can be addressed. For example, it has been difficult to apply neuroimaging to investigation of the neural substrates of cognitive development in babies and children, or in adult studies that require unconstrained head movement (e.g. spatial navigation). Here, we develop a new type of MEG system that can be worn like a helmet, allowing free and natural movement during scanning. This is possible due to the integration of new quantum sensors2,3 that do not rely on superconducting technology, with a novel system for nulling background magnetic fields. We demonstrate human electrophysiological measurement at millisecond resolution whilst subjects make natural movements, including head nodding, stretching, drinking and playing a ball game. Results compare well to the current state-of-the-art, even when subjects make large head movements. The system opens up new possibilities for scanning any subject or patient group, with myriad applications such as characterisation of the neurodevelopmental connectome, imaging subjects moving naturally in a virtual environment, and understanding the pathophysiology of movement disorders.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 29, 2018
Journal Nature
Print ISSN 0028-0836
Electronic ISSN 1476-4687
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 555
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf


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