A new technology harnesses imperfections that typically compromise MRI exams to create images resolved enough to enable consistent diagnoses across populations for the first time. Traditional MRI radio waves “light up” some parts of a sample better than others, with imperfections blacking out areas of images. Despite decades of massive investment, traditional MRI still yields only qualitative images that are not resolved enough to guide database-driven diagnoses and research in the age of “big data.”

“Plug-and-Play MR Fingerprinting" (PnP-MRF) matches its measurements to a simulated database of every possible magnetic field interaction or distortion as it builds images, and so requires zero calibration. Along with capturing spin characteristics, the new method was shown to effectively map the distortions that occur as MR radio waves interact with tissue, which radiologists had previously sought to erase via calibration.