A portable scanner is being developed for the Jockey Club to check for broken bones in horses. Dr Ma Qiyuan, of the University of Hong Kong, is building a portable and inexpensive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. The university's research bulletin reported that the device could be useful to horse trainers worldwide as well as to humans. The MRI scanner produces precise cross-sections of the body without using X-rays. It uses the body's charged atoms and the energy they release to produce an image. Scanners used in hospitals are usually room-size. '[Dr Ma] is scaling down scan machines into smaller, less expensive and more portable gear to spot fractures in the shin bones of racehorses,' the bulletin report said. Jockey Club vets said they had held a preliminary discussion with Dr Ma, but it was too early to say if the device would be adopted. Dr Ma did not return calls seeking comment.