Open Source Magnetic Resonance Imaging: From the Community to the Community.


Motivation MRI is a powerful medical device beyond the reach of many patients throughout the world. Open source imaging initiative (OSI²) aims to address this issue collaboratively by facilitating the sharing of research around MRI technology and building an affordable open source MRI scanner. Here we present the roadmap of OSI² which extends into six different areas: 1. Open Source Hardware and Software Development 2. Guidelines for Open Source Research and Development 3. Community Building 4. Quality, Reliability and Safety 5. Education 6. Businesses and Distribution Open Source Hardware and Software Development Similar to OS complex software projects, our hardware development follows a modular approach. This will allow independent developments, as well as reproducible and exchangeable components. We are developing a complete MRI prototype for the extremities. Our efforts are, however, not limited to this initial system. We encourage the community to develop and exchange alternative approaches. Guidelines for Open Source Research and Development Transparency should be a must in science. Providing open source software and hardware documentation along with a scientific publication accelerates the reproducibility of scientific advancements, facilitates the validation of findings, and rewards authors with visibility. We encourage researchers to publish in journals that promote OS software/hardware publications. Community Building We are implementing open communication channels for software/hardware and general discussions to stimulate participation and to collaboratively shape and move towards our vision. Quality, Reliability and Safety Quality, reliability and safety of medical devices is typically assured through the oversight of government-based organisations. We want to create guidelines that will allow a smooth transition from research prototypes to medical devices. These guidelines will also help developers in countries, where the requirements for device safety may be arbitrary or nonexistent. We are collaborating with OpenQRS in a long-term vision to implement open data systems to inform the users and the public about the quality, reliability and safety of healthcare devices to ensure and improve patient safety. Education Education stands on transparency. Providing the widest possible access to documentation, manuals, data, and source code fosters the training of users and developers. We highly encourage developers to go the extra mile and document their work openly, which will provide easy global access to knowledge for students, researchers, and developers. Businesses and Distribution Although OSI² is a not-for-profit movement, business partners will be important to boost global access to MRI systems and ensure their quality. OS R&D of MRI hardware has the potential to lower investment/service costs, create local markets with stable low prices, and encourage device customisation. Conclusion Through transparent collaboration we hope to improve global access to affordable and high-quality MRI devices, which could lay the groundwork for development of other medical devices. Please visit or contact us at to contribute and help us make this vision a reality.

Presented by

    Ruben Pellicer Guridi

    Ruben believes that open source can enhance human potential in an inclusive way. Thus, he is interested in translating the open source software experience to other areas such as hardware development. His current efforts are focused on making Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) more affordable. He thinks that an open source approach to medical device research and development can play a key role in making them more accessible to more people across the globe, as well as increasing the versatility and performance of the systems. In his view, scientists must advocate for transparency and should be fostering Open Science; Healthcare research in particular is philanthropic by nature and can become a reference for borderless collaborations.