A sustainable MRI system to diagnose hydrocephalus in Uganda


More than 100,000 infants develop hydrocephalus in sub-Saharan Africa every year. Many of these children are inadequately diagnosed and poorly treated due to lack of diagnostic tools, resulting in severe brain damage and ultimately death.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging is the preferred technique to diagnose hydrocephalus. In countries such as Uganda, MRI is unaffordable at even major referral hospitals and medical schools. For such developing countries, conventional MRI devices are too expensive, too difficult to install, and too difficult to maintain and operate.

In order to provide a sustainable diagnostic tool we will develop an inexpensive and easy to use MRI system that is of sufficient quality to diagnose hydrocephalus and manage its surgical treatment. We will investigate two approaches: the first is based on an inexpensive electromagnet and the second on a permanent magnet.

We will use off-the-shelf electronic components and public domain software to construct a sustainable device that costs on the order of 50,000 EURO compared to several million euros for a conventional multipurpose whole-body MRI. We will develop advanced image reconstruction algorithms in order to compensate for the low signal-to-noise ratio and inhomogeneity in the magnetic field, which are intrinsic to low-power fields.

The MRI device will be tested on-site in collaboration with local practitioners during clinical trials at the main hospital for patients with hydrocephalus in Uganda.

The project brings together a multidisciplinary team composed of both practitioners and scientists. The team has the expertise needed to perform the whole development chain, from design to clinical trials in Uganda.


Project number

W 07.303.101

Main applicant

Dr. ir. M.B. van Gijzen

Affiliated with

Technische Universiteit Delft, Faculteit Elektrotechniek, Wiskunde en Informatica, Applied mathematics


01/11/2017 to 31/10/2021