Medical Imaging Evaluation Application

A new iPad app developed by Current Studios and the IWK Health Centre will help technicians evaluate a child’s ability to complete a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) without being given a general anesthetic (GA).  If successful it could also result in lower costs and shorter wait times in delivering the necessary service.

When a child between the ages of five and 11 years of age requires an MRI, there is currently no way to evaluate if the child will be able to lie still long enough to complete the MRI or if the child will require GA to be able to complete the procedure.  Currently GA requirement is assessed based solely on judgment.

The goal of the Medical Imaging Evaluation Application is to develop and test a product that will allow evaluation of children’s ability to complete MRI and other medical imaging procedures.  The app was developed in collaboration with Dr. Jill Chorney, a clinical psychologist with the complex pain team at the IWK and an Associate Professor in Anesthesia, Pain Management and Perioperative Medicine at Dalhousie University and Dr. Pierre Schmit, of the Department of Diagnostic Imaging at the IWK and an Associate Professor of Radiology and Pediatrics. 

This game has the potential to make an MRI less threatening and may be able to help some children avoid long waits for general anesthesia.
— Dr. Jill Chorney

When a child is scheduled for an MRI their parents download the application onto their tablet device.  The child is encouraged to play the game which requires them to lie still and in turn practice for the MRI. Game play involves a monkey carrying a bucket of water on its head.  The monkey is trying to get to thirsty elephants without spilling a drop.  If the child playing the game moves, the bucket falls off the monkey’s head. 

The child’s progress, failures and successes are all fed back to a dashboard that allows the MRI technicians to evaluate and help decide if the child requires anesthesia or not.


The app will train the children undergoing an MRI to stay still for longer and longer periods. This will allow a better selection of patients requiring general anesthesia for MRI. Children will be able to play the same game during the exam and the induced distraction will further reduce anxiety and decrease the need for sedation.
— Dr. Pierre Schmit


The waiting time for an MRI with general anesthetic is double the waiting time for an MRI without GA.  General anesthetic’s also carry a slight risk of minor adverse events happening and cost approximately $614 more than non-GA MRI per patients. There is also a substantial cost in time, personnel and equipment, necessary to prepare, monitor and help children recover from GA.  A more accurate method of evaluating the child’s ability to complete an MRI could reduce many of these factors.

What makes this application exciting is not just that we are using motion recognition software and game play to evaluate children for an MRI, but that we are doing it at home with iPads and tablets that people already own
— Nathan Kroll, President of Current

The IWK Health Centre is the Maritime region's leading health care and research centre dedicated to the well-being of women, children, youth and families. In addition to providing highly specialized and complex care, the IWK provides certain primary care services and is a strong advocate for the health of families. The IWK is a global leader in research and knowledge sharing, and a partner in educating the next generation of health professionals. Visit

Current is a Halifax, Nova Scotia based company that blends software developers and mobile developers with creative’s and content developers to create stunning experiences delivered with the latest technologies.  Since 2000 Current has been consistently solving problems with the philosophy that creative teams and programming brains working together lead to better, more innovative solutions. Current Studios and Labs has been listed among the fastest growing companies in Atlantic Canada in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.