LEGO® MRI Scanners donated to hospitals to help children cope

Could LEGO® bricks make MRI scans less scary? To find out, we’re giving away 600 model scanners to hospitals around the world

Play before your procedure: enter the LEGO ® MRI scanner model

Anyone who’s ever had an MRI scan knows they’re not much fun. And for young children, they can be downright scary. How do you encourage a child to lie perfectly still in a noisy tunnel for long chunks of time? Hospitals often resort to anaesthesia. But what if they didn’t have to?

A team at Odense University Hospital and volunteer LEGO employees have teamed up to make MRIs more playful and less stressful. To do it, they’ve designed a LEGO brick model of an MRI scanner. By playing with it before their scans (guided by hospital staff), children get a feel for the room they’ll be in and the machine they’ll face. And, by putting a LEGO minifigure through the model scanner first, children can take control and learn what to expect at the same time.

"MRI Scanners are huge machines. They also make a lot of noise which can be very daunting for children. Our team have found that use of models such as the LEGO models has led to more positive, calm experiences for many children. This benefits the child, their family and also the quality of the MRI scan, which relies on the person being very still for up to an hour to work"
Ulla Jensen, Department of Radiology at Odense University Hospital

Sign up for free LEGO MRI Scanners has unfortunately closed

Due to extraordinary interest, the 600 LEGO MRI Scanners have already been assigned. We ask for your understanding. We will work closely with those hospitals that receive a LEGO MRI Scanner and evaluate learnings from this initial programme to help guide and design future plans.

We’ve made videos to help use the LEGO MRI Scanner in a playful way

To support the use of the model, we've developed a programme that supports hospital staff in using the model in a playful way, reducing anxiety and building children's resilience

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We already know play boosts resilience

Play is a natural way for children to develop their social and emotional skills. It helps children find moments of calm and control, no matter what’s happening around them.

The LEGO® MRI Scanner was designed to take away some of the worry and uncertainty that naturally comes with having a medical procedure for the first time. By swapping that uncertainty with a positive and playful way of learning about MRIs, we’re helping children build their confidence. It’s a great example of children using play to find their inner superhero when things get scary. And, in the process, it could even mean doctors can reduce the use of anaesthesia on children. So, as soon as we heard about the scanner models, we knew we had to get involved – and help hospitals test them out.

"I’ve seen first-hand how children have responded to the LEGO models: making them feel more relaxed and turning an often highly stressful experience into a positive, playful one."
Erik Ullerlund Staehr, Chemical Technician at The LEGO Group and volunteer of the project

Where did the idea come from?

In proof that great minds really do think alike, two medical teams actually had the same scanner idea – at almost exactly the same time! Luckily, they all agreed to work together. And so far, they’ve tested their models in hospitals in Denmark, Norway, the USA, China and the UK.

Big thanks for their inspiration and collaboration go to:

Mette Sorang Kjaer, Ulla Jensen and their team at Odense University Hospital, and LEGO volunteers, Erik Ullerlund Staehr who developed the idea in Denmark.

And …

Benjamin H Taragin, MD a paediatric radiologist at University Radiology Group in the US, Erik Ranschaert, a radiologist and advisor in AI for radiology in Belgium and Belgian LEGO artist, Dirk Denoyelle.

 

And a huge thank you to our LEGO volunteers, too

They’re building the LEGO® MRI Scanner right now. (If it takes a little longer for your model to arrive, please bear with us. We’re building as fast as we can!)

How to receive a model

PLEASE NOTE: We have already exceeded the maximum number of sign-ups

1. Fill out and submit the request form - the form is already closed.

When filling out the request form this will be done via Microsoft Request Form. Microsoft Request Form use cookies in accordance with their privacy statement.

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2. You will receive confirmation that your application has been submitted

3. Then our volunteers will process your application

4. If your application is eligible, the volunteers will build and pack your model

5. Once we’re ready for send-out, you’ll receive an email confirmation to the address you used for sign-up. The mail will contain a tracking code of your parcel.

6. Should you not receive a confirmation email, that unfortunately means that you are either not eligible or that the 600 models have already been allocated.

Please note that because this entire process is administered by volunteers it can take longer than expected to receive your model.

As this is part of a pilot, we’re asking all hospitals that use our LEGO® MRI Scanner to capture learnings which we’d like to gather in a survey which we will send out later this year. The gathered learnings will help us decide next steps and whether we continue the project.

 

FAQ's

1. Who is the LEGO® MRI Scanner for?
2. How and where do I sign up to receive the LEGO® MRI Scanner?
3. How do you select the hospitals?
4. When do you plan on sending out the first LEGO MRI Scanners?
5. Is there teaching material for hospital staff to go with the LEGO® MRI Scanners?
6. Have you worked with a hospital team to develop the model and the teaching material?
7. Can we still receive the teaching material if we are not chosen?
8. Will you be producing more than the 600 models that are available now? If yes, when?
9. I’ve signed up but you’ve already given out the 600 models. Will you keep my data for the next round of the project?

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