fMRI Button Design

Biomedical Device Design Course

Our team designed low-cost, customizable fMRI buttons for a cognitive neuroscience laboratory at Boston Children's Hospital.

Existing button boxes are oversized for children's hands, require large forces to activate, high dexterity, and the ability to distinguish between multiple nondescript buttons. Our work aimed to address these design issues while lowering the cost of fMRI buttons and making a clinical tool more fun and engaging for young patients.

We developed and tested an electromechanical system with a portable armrest, modular button attachments, interchangeable button tops, and fiber optic communication. All components were sterilizable and non-magnetic in order to ensure laboratory safety. The button tops allowed kids to pick their favorite colors, animals, and shapes to work with. According to employees of the hospital, this heightened agency corresponded to calmer and more compliant behavior within the fMRI. Our design report is attached here.