A brain imager includes a compact ring-like static PET imager mounted in a helmet-like structure. When attached to a patient's head, the helmet-like brain imager maintains the relative head-to-imager geometry fixed through the whole imaging procedure. The brain imaging helmet contains radiation sensors and minimal front-end electronics. A flexible mechanical suspension/harness system supports the weight of the helmet thereby allowing for patient to have limited movements of the head during imaging scans. The compact ring-like PET imager enables very high resolution imaging of neurological brain functions, cancer, and effects of trauma using a rather simple mobile scanner with limited space needs for use and storage.