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Neuroinformatics. 2013 Jul;11(3):291-300. doi: 10.1007/s12021-013-9176-3.

A graphics processing unit accelerated motion correction algorithm and modular system for real-time fMRI.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rt-fMRI) has recently gained interest as a possible means to facilitate the learning of certain behaviors. However, rt-fMRI is limited by processing speed and available software, and continued development is needed for rt-fMRI to progress further and become feasible for clinical use. In this work, we present an open-source rt-fMRI system for biofeedback powered by a novel Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) accelerated motion correction strategy as part of the BioImage Suite project ( ). Our system contributes to the development of rt-fMRI by presenting a motion correction algorithm that provides an estimate of motion with essentially no processing delay as well as a modular rt-fMRI system design. Using empirical data from rt-fMRI scans, we assessed the quality of motion correction in this new system. The present algorithm performed comparably to standard (non real-time) offline methods and outperformed other real-time methods based on zero order interpolation of motion parameters. The modular approach to the rt-fMRI system allows the system to be flexible to the experiment and feedback design, a valuable feature for many applications. We illustrate the flexibility of the system by describing several of our ongoing studies. Our hope is that continuing development of open-source rt-fMRI algorithms and software will make this new technology more accessible and adaptable, and will thereby accelerate its application in the clinical and cognitive neurosciences.

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