Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Industrial and Managements Systems Engineering

Committee Chair

Thorsten Wuest

Committee Co-Chair

Xiaopeng Ning

Committee Member

Julie Brefczynski-Lewis


Ambulatory Micro-dose Positron Emission Tomography (AM-PET) is a portable PET brain scanner that does not require patients to remain still but allows them to move as they regularly would over the course of the scan (i.e. clapping hands, walking in place, and other stationary movements). Traditional PET scanners require patients to remain still for an extended duration in a small confined cavity. This is problematic for those who have conditions such as Parkinson's and Autism; in many cases, they must be sedated before the test can be performed. West Virginia University's AM-PET Helmet allows for these regular human movements to be made. It also allows researchers to see parts of the brain where traditional PET scanners cannot due to the limited mobility of the device. A proof-of-concept AM-PET helmet has been developed and tested on patients. This prototype uses 12 photodetector modules placed in a single circular ring around the subject's head, each sensor weighs ~200 grams with an overall ring weight of ~3 kilograms. This prototype system was developed by researchers at West Virginia University's Health Science Center (HSC) and has been tested successfully. The next generation helmet, currently being developed, will allow for improved images with additional sensor rings to increase brain coverage.;The next generation AM-PET helmet is projected to weigh ~10 kilograms. This represents a potential challenge for long time usage and various safety concerns for the patient. Currently, a support system with a counterbalancer is used to reduce the weight off the patient. This counterbalancer assists in alleviating vertical weight off the patient. Patient safety is always a primary concern; therefore the helmet must be tested thoroughly to ensure safety of the patient at all times, especially when rotating ones' head; conceivably many potential patients are frail (i.e., from disease or age). This report describes testing of the system on healthy individuals with the use of an electromyography (EMG) and a Vicon system to explore neck muscle activity and head movements and to determine "safe use" parameters, mechanics and impact of head mounted weight on patients and mechanical support structure.