Rap music possesses the ideal acoustic waves for controlling a new type of miniature medical sensor, new research shows.
The sensor is designed to help treat people with incontinence due to paralysis or aneurisms, and can be implanted within the body, allowing patients to be monitored from home.
Babak Ziaie, a Purdue University professor of electrical and computer engineering and biomedical engineering, said a vibrating cantilever sits at the heart of the device.
When the cantilever is exposed to music of a frequency of between 200-500 hertz, it generates electricity and stores its charge in the capacitor.
After the frequency falls out the range, the power is sent to the sensor and this takes a pressure reading then sends radio signals transmitting the data.
Using this system, it is possible to manage the sensor so it alternates between storing a charge and transmitting the data.
He explained: "The music reaches the correct frequency only at certain times, for example, when there is a strong bass component.
"The acoustic energy from the music can pass through body tissue, causing the cantilever to vibrate… You would only need to do this for a couple of minutes every hour or so to monitor either blood pressure or pressure of urine in the bladder."
The researchers tested four different types of music –rap, blues, jazz and rock – to determine which produces the best results.
Rap was found to be most effective as it contains "a lot of low-frequency sounds, notably the bass".
The sensor is expected to hold potential for measuring pressure in the bladder and the sack of a blood vessel following an aneurism.
"A wireless implantable device could be inserted and left in place, allowing the patient to go home while the pressure is monitored," Professor Ziaie said.
Researchers also recently developed a system of microneedles that allow for the real-time monitoring of chemicals in the blood.
The painless array could be integrated within a watch as part of medical research and holds particular potential within the field of diabetes, the team from North Carolina State University, Sandia National Laboratories, and the University of California, San Diego said.