About the OPM Collaboration

Researchers at UCL’s Department of Imaging Neuroscience, alongside partners at the charity Young Epilepsy, are developing a new type of wearable brain scanner. It uses technology called Optically Pumped Magnetoencephalography or OPM-MEG, and works by measuring the tiny magnetic fields produced in the brain. These scans help in the diagnosis and surgical planning for people with epilepsy, by pinpointing areas of the brain causing epileptic seizures.

OPM-MEG has significant potential, particularly for young people with epilepsy, because for the first time, they will be able to benefit from easy access to this non-invasive, powerful technology.

Unlike current scanning methods, which require participants to remain very still, OPM-MEG allows people being scanned to continue to move about the scanning space. This makes it much more suitable for young people and people with complex needs. In addition, OPM-MEG is less invasive, less intimidating, provides greater clarity of data and is cheaper to run than current technologies.

These new scans will enable clinicians to better plan better patient pathways and treatment plans, including surgery, which could have a significant positive impact on health and wellbeing.

Because this new scanning technology is still being developed, we had an exciting opportunity to co-design it to meet the needs of the young people who will be scanned. Over two years, a multi-disciplinary team worked with young people with epilepsy, their parents and guardians and wider experts to co-design:

  • Fun, engaging and comfortable helmets to wear whilst being scanned
  • Enjoyable activities to do during the scan
  • Resources to explain the scanning process

You can read more about the project, insights and recommendations in the Project Report and Project Film.

The project was funded through the Wellcome Enrichment Public Engagement Fund in June 2019.

You can also read about the research behind the project here