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IBM Science

IBM Creates MRI With 100M Times the Resolution 161

Posted by kdawson
from the little-tiny-hairs dept.
An anonymous reader writes "IBM Research scientists, in collaboration with the Center for Probing the Nanoscale at Stanford University, have demonstrated magnetic resonance imaging with volume resolution 100 million times finer than conventional MRI. This result, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, signals a significant step forward in tools for molecular biology and nanotechnology by offering the ability to study complex 3D structures at the nanoscale."
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IBM Creates MRI With 100M Times the Resolution

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  • by Zouden (232738) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:13PM (#26440253)

    Now if only HP and AT&T would bring back their R&D departments we might see more companies doing basic research like this.

  • Storage Monster (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bananaquackmoo (1204116) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:23PM (#26440377)
    Good lord I don't want to see the required storage space for each file on that thing...
  • Transporter? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RetroGeek (206522) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:39PM (#26440573) Homepage

    I wonder if this is fine enough to be able to distinguish the type and state of a molecule. If so, then you should be able to scan an entire person and store the result.

    Then at a later date (when the technology becomes available) you should be able to re-create that person.

    The beginnings of a transporter.

  • Re:Transporter? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:51PM (#26440711) Journal

    Indeed. A transporter that works like the visible man.

    Step 1: die. (not strictly necessary, but makes the remaining steps more pleasant.)
    Step 2: freeze body in great big ice cube. agitate and freeze rapidly to avoid bubbles and crystals.
    step 3: put ice block on giant deli slicer. Use "1 cell thick" setting.
    step 4: further divide ice slice into pieces small enough to use with the MRI device. Carefully label the position of each piece.
    step 5: painstakingly scan each piece and store in appropriate database.
    step 6: repeat steps 3 through 5 over the next several months until no slices remain.
    step 7: ?
    step 8: arrive at destination, nearly perfectly reconstructed and only a little bit dead (just your brains. and organs)

  • Re:Transporter? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eudial (590661) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @06:51PM (#26440715)

    I wonder if this is fine enough to be able to distinguish the type and state of a molecule. If so, then you should be able to scan an entire person and store the result.

    Then at a later date (when the technology becomes available) you should be able to re-create that person.

    The beginnings of a transporter.

    Unfortunately, Heisenberg's uncertainty principle [wikipedia.org] dictates that in scanning the position of the particles, you also change their state. You can in short never know everything you need to know about a system to identically replicate it elsewhere.

  • by sams67 (880846) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:04PM (#26440863) Homepage
    The big letters mean it MUST be TRUE.
  • Re:Transporter? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jackchance (947926) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:06PM (#26440885) Homepage
    It isn't clear whether the quantum uncertainty of the particles is relevant for reconstructing a biological organism.

    It's true that the precise location of individual ions would be slightly misplaced. However, as long as the wiring of neurons was accurately recreated it might work.

    So while the 'recreated' organism would not be 'exactly' the same as the scanned organism, it might be good enough.

  • by Viking Coder (102287) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:07PM (#26440903)

    kebes already pretty much said it, and as I said (under a different name) on Digg,

    Saying "100 million times stronger than MRI" is a deceptive way to describe this. The normal usage of MRI that the public is familiar with is to scan your body, or parts of your body. This new technology would work on a "sample," for instance a biopsy. If the new technology operated at the same scale - your whole body - and was at 100 million times finer resolution - then that would be astounding.

    But this is a competitor for other microscopes - not MRI.

  • by maillemaker (924053) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:16PM (#26441025)

    It is my firm belief that one of the major limitations to the ability to practice medicine today is the physician's lack of ability to SEE. Yes, the next step, of course, will be to develop tools that can actually perform work at such scales, but the first step, simply, is to see and thus to understand.

    Just as the microscope revolutionized medicine, so too will technologies like this, and then some.

    For years I have pined for "Star Trek medicine", where you go to the doctor and they wave some device over you and accurately diagnose your problems. Today such diagnosis seem to be largely based on interviewing the patient and whatever symptoms can be crudely gauged with the eye and sense of touch and smell.

    The more ubiquitous such highly accurate 3D scanning devices become, the better off we will all be for it.

  • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:39PM (#26441297) Homepage Journal
    Or maybe it's their professional trolling debut!
  • Re:Interesting! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dice (109560) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:42PM (#26441327)

    I think you need a call to rand(), a switch statement, and some additional function calls like sleep_in_sun(), eat(), shit(), scratch_aimlessly_at_litter(), tear_through_the_house_for_no_apparent_reason(), etc.

  • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:44PM (#26441349)

    The only thing wrong with that was that it stole a basic Star Trek trope, the "reversal of polarity".

    I was about to object, but then checked the dates and Star Trek (original series) does predate the Third Doctor's "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" [wikipedia.org] (1966-1969 vs. 1970-1974).

    Instead I say, well played sir!

  • Re:Transporter? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sdpuppy (898535) on Tuesday January 13, 2009 @07:44PM (#26441361)

    So while the 'recreated' organism would not be 'exactly' the same as the scanned organism, it might be good enough.

    Hey - that's what my wife tells me all the time!

  • Re:Twitter? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by digitalunity (19107) <digitalunity@yahoo . c om> on Wednesday January 14, 2009 @01:17AM (#26444287) Homepage

    Fuck twitter.

    No seriously, I hope they relocate to the Mediterranean and get their cables cut every week.

Mathemeticians stand on each other's shoulders while computer scientists stand on each other's toes. -- Richard Hamming

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