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For Parkinson's Patients, Hearing Voices Could Be a Good Thing

Purdue researchers have developed an in-ear device that uses recorded chatter to improve the speech of Parkinson's patients

3 min read

Speech pathologists have been trying to get their patients with Parkinson’s disease to raise their voices for years. Although the condition is primarily characterized by tremors and difficulty in walking, most patients also suffer from speech problems, particularly slurring and what’s known in the field as weak voice. Now, Jessica Huber, an associate professor in the speech, language, and hearing sciences department at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Ind., has developed a wearable device specifically designed to get Parkinson’s patients to speak louder and clearer.

Speech pathologists usually work with Parkinson’s patients one-on-one, but the patients often regress when they leave the clinic. Huber wanted to get patients to talk louder in both clinical and natural settings. She knew that audiologists often used recorded party chatter to test patients’ abilities to raise their voices in response to noise, a reflex action known as the Lombard effect. Huber reasoned that if she could integrate the party chatter recording into a portable and user-friendly package, she would be able to activate the Lombard reflex in her Parkinson’s patients anytime, anywhere.

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Quantum Computing for Dummies

New guide helps beginners run quantum algorithms on IBM's quantum computers over the cloud

3 min read
An image of the inside of an IBM quantum computer.
IBM

Quantum computers may one day rapidly find solutions to problems no regular computer might ever hope to solve, but there are vanishingly few quantum programmers when compared with the number of conventional programmers in the world. Now a new beginner's guide aims to walk would-be quantum programmers through the implementation of quantum algorithms over the cloud on IBM's publicly available quantum computers.

Whereas classical computers switch transistors either on or off to symbolize data as ones or zeroes, quantum computers use quantum bits, or "qubits," which because of the peculiar nature of quantum physics can exist in a state called superposition where they are both 1 and 0 at the same time. This essentially lets each qubit perform two calculations at once. The more qubits are quantum-mechanically linked, or entangled (see our explainer), within a quantum computer, the greater its computational power can grow, in an exponential fashion.

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This Wearable Neck Patch Can Diagnose Concussions

Self-powered sensors convert neck strain into electrical pulses to detect head trauma in athletes

4 min read
image of back of man's head and shoulders with a patch taped to his lower neck; right image is a time lapse image of a man's head extending far forward and back, simulating a case of whiplash

The prototype patch in this research is shown in (a) on the left; on the right (b) is the kind of head rotation that can yield an electrical response from the patch.

Juan Pastrana

Nelson Sepúlveda was sitting in the stands at Spartan Stadium, watching his hometown Michigan State players bash heads with their cross-state football rivals from the University of Michigan, when he had a scientific epiphany.

Perhaps the nanotechnologies he had been working on for years—paper-thin devices known as ferroelectret nanogenerators that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy—could help save these athletes from the ravages of traumatic brain injury.

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Modeling Microfluidic Organ-on-a-Chip Devices

Register for this webinar to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices using COMSOL Multiphysics

1 min read
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Comsol

If you want to enhance your modeling and design processes for microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices, tune into this webinar.

You will learn methods for simulating the performance and behavior of microfluidic organ-on-a-chip devices and microphysiological systems in COMSOL Multiphysics. Additionally, you will see how to couple multiple physical effects in your model, including chemical transport, particle tracing, and fluid–structure interaction. You will also learn how to distill simulation output to find key design parameters and obtain a high-level description of system performance and behavior.

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