Rap music finds an audience among Purdue scientists
Posted January 30, 2012
By Sarah Redohl
Have you ever been stopped at a red light near a car blaring rap and feel the bass throughout your body? Scientists from Purdue University have discovered a way to use the vibrations from rap music to charge implanted pressure sensors common in people afflicted with aneurisms or incontinence by paralysis.
Although the researchers also tested jazz, blues and rock, the bass common in rap music best achieved the 200 to 500 hertz frequency necessary to charge the device.
Tones of that frequency also work, “but a plain tone is a very annoying sound,” said Babak Ziaie, a Purdue University professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering who has worked on the project. “We thought it would be novel and also more aesthetically pleasing to use music.”
Each sensor contains a cantilever, which vibrates in response to deep bass frequencies. The cantilever stores the charge until the frequency is out of range, when it will send the electrical charge to the sensor, prompting a pressure reading of the urinary bladder or blood vessels damaged by aneurisms.
“You would only need to (listen) for a couple of minutes every hour or so to monitor either blood pressure or pressure of urine in the bladder,” Ziaie said. “It doesn’t take long to do the measurement.”
The patent-pending sensor offers a more efficient option than those currently available on the market. Battery-powered sensors must be replaced; for sensors powered by inductance, coils on the implanted device and the external transmitter must be perfectly aligned to receive a reading.
The paper detailing the sensor was written by doctoral student Albert Kim, research scientist Teimour Maleki and Ziaie, and will be presented at the IEEE MEMS conference in Paris Jan. 29 through Feb. 2.