Preparation procedures can be done by both researcher and operators. If you are not sure how to do the preparation, read these guidelines, and ask operators for further coaching. If you actively participate in the preparation, you can use your recording times much more efficiently: e.g., you can already prepare the next subject, when the operator is finishing the previous recording.
Checks and wires
Subjects need to be free of magnetic materials, like coins, watches and other metal items. Underwired bras can be a problem, and even dyes in clothing or hairdye can cause interference.
Subjects will need to complete a MEG Subject Screening Form, which will prompt them to remove all metal. This form can be downloaded from here: StandardOperatingProcedures
To make sure that a subject is non-magnetic, it is good practise to put them in the MEG machine before any other preparation, and to check the signal for artefacts.
To track head movements volunteers need to have 4 small HPI (Head Position Indicator) coils attached to their head: 2 on the forehead and 2 behind the ears. In addition we normally attach 5 electrodes to the face as well to measure eye movements and blinks.
The location of the coils needs to be recorded with a Polhemus 3D digitiser. We also measure 3 landmarks and a number of additional points on the head to indicate headshape and enable easier matching to an MRI structural scan. The digitiser has a pen-like sensor that will record the location of its tip when the button is pressed.
In total, subject preparation should take about 20-30 minutes.
The glasses in the picture have an additional sensor attached to them, to register movements of the head and correct for that. Fortunately, they are only used during the 3D recording process.
Seating the subject in the MEG
It is important that subjects are as high in the helmet as possible. Most people will relax during the experiment and often end up in a slightly lower position than initially. It is good practice to allow for a bit of time to seat the subject properly, perhaps try to add or remove one or more pillows and make sure they are as comfortable as possible.