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How to Build Your Own MRI Machine

Always wanted to check out your innards? Don’t let science – or mechanical know-how – get in the way! Build your own MRI machine and save yourself the co-pay.


  • : While this video is awesome, it didn't go to medical school. Always consult your doctor for actual medical advice.
  • Step 1: Get a magnet Get yourself an industrial-strength super-magnet. If you can't find one, try gathering several million refrigerator magnets.
  • Step 2: Chill out Cool your magnet in liquid helium, chilling it to just above absolute zero. Or, borrow a walk-in freezer.
  • TIP: Can't find a freezer big enough? Move to Iceland instead.
  • Step 3: Add gradient coils Whip up some gradient coils, which focus the big magnet. If you're trying this at home, tape a Slinky to a pair of serious bifocals.
  • Step 4: Add RF coils Next come the RF coils, which create a crucial magnetic field – kind of like the Force. Channel your inner Jedi for similar results.
  • Step 5: Add a quadrature detector Attach a quadrature detector, which filters signals from your machine. For the DIY version, write the words "Quadrature Detector" on a coffee filter.
  • Step 6: Analyze the data Attach a computer to translate the data into images.
  • TIP: Take a picture Don’t have a spare laptop? Try an Etch-a-Sketch®.
  • Step 7: Take a picture Now get ready for your close-up. Step into your machine and say cheese!
  • FACT: The first human MRI was taken in 1977 by a machine named "Indomitable," which is now owned by the Smithsonian Institution.

You Will Need

  • Magnets
  • Cold
  • Coils
  • Computer stuff

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