Scanner helmet lets brain patients move around. (And look like warriors from Krull.)

The Guardian has a game-changing invention for neurologists and anyone who needs a brain-scan done – a wearable helmet that lets you walk around – and turn your head – while getting a detailed picture of your brain-activity:

The new scalp caps – made on 3D printers – fit closely to the head, so can record the electromagnetic field produced by electrical currents between brain cells in much finer detail than previously.

This design means the scanner can work in ways never possible before: subjects can move about, for example, and even play games with the equipment on, while medics can use it on groups such as babies, children and those with illnesses which cause them to move involuntarily.

“This has the potential to revolutionise the brain imaging field, and transform the scientific and clinical questions that can be addressed with human brain imaging,” said Prof Gareth Barnes at University College London, one of three partners in the project.

The other two are the University of Nottingham and the Wellcome Trust.

The new fitted “helmets” – which look rather like an accessory from a horror or sci-fi film – record data millisecond by millisecond, and can be used while nodding, drinking tea or even playing with a ping pong bat and ball.

The next tests are likely to be on children with epilepsy, the hope being that surgeons will be able to diagnose the problem sooner and better target which areas of the brain to operate on.