On Monday, June 11, 2012, the 3T Skyra Connectome MRI scanner successfully arrived in its permanent home at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU). The Siemens scanner will be the workhorse for HCP subject scanning to begin in August 2012 with Phase II of the project.
For the last year and a half, the Skyra has been housed at the CMRR (Center for Magnetic Resonance Research) at University of Minnesota (UMinn), where it underwent intensive testing to optimize performance for the HCP. This includes hardware customization (a more powerful gradient insert and power amplifiers for improved diffusion imaging), plus the implementation of new pulse sequences for greater sensitivity, spatial resolution, and temporal resolution. Consortium members at UMinn and UC-Berkeley led the substantial effort to customize the scanner and to collect pilot data throughout Phase I. One of these pilot datasets (HCP Pilot 1) will be released to the public in July (links to this data will be on this website).
The move was momentous for both UMinn colleagues, who said farewell to the scanner on June 8 and WashU colleagues, who welcomed it on June 11. Both ends of the move were documented by an article in the Washington University Record, numerous photographs and these two videos:
Thanks to Greg Burgess for providing photographs and Kathleen Docktor and Sandy Curtiss for providing the video clips.