Music and Health Technology Startups Promoted by MIT

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music and health technology
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Music is more than just food for your soul. A research study by Beth Israel Medical Center previously found that soothing sounds improved preterm babies’ breathing and heart rhythm. The same study found that music reduces stress levels of parents.

Apparently, even scientists can “bust a move” by studying precisely how music affects our health. On a basic level, music appears to help reduce stress levels, thereby boosting the body’s natural immune responses and healing abilities.

However, quantifying music’s tangible physiological effects is not always easy.

Biometric sensors could be one way to help measure music’s effects on the human body on the path to advancing music health technologies, but two Boston-area universities are already hard at work on student-generated solutions.

MIT and Berklee College of Music even jointly-offering courses in Developing Technologies for Music and Health and in Music and Learning Devices.

“The Founder’s Journey functions like a clubhouse for engineering undergraduates interested in establishing tech startups.”

Music and Health Technology as a Curriculum

Music therapy is a well-established field of study and practice. Yet, a new approach hopes to integrate newer technologies and data analysis into music therapy. With the ever-increasing collaboration between the sciences and a globalized research community, there is an opportunity to expand music’s role in clinical environments.

Last fall semester, the aforementioned MIT and Berklee college courses partnered with The Sync Project, a for-profit startup that focuses on music and health. The collaboration challenged students to create a product for athletes based on the latest research in the field of music therapy. The course’s curriculum is flexible and gives students ample freedom to develop their ideas.

Sakura Tsuruta, an Electronic Production major at Berklee commented that “this class discusses the topics of music and health technology at such a high level.” Tsuruta also holds a degree in music therapy, “but in this class environment,” Tsuruta added, “we can discuss new ideas openly, let creativity and imagination take the lead, think outside the box, and take action.”

The new courses are part of a seminar series MIT is calling “The Founder’s Journey,” which seeks to familiarize students with entrepreneurship and how to create start-ups.

From Classroom to Career

The Founder’s Journey functions like a clubhouse for engineering undergraduates interested in establishing tech startups. One crucial role that the program plays is providing a way to centralize high-quality research and resources in order to more effectively leverage them, which only expedites product development.

According to Ken Zolot, a lecturer at MIT’s Office of Digital Learning, “a lot of freshmen wonder whether they’re the next Elon Musk.” He hopes that The Founder’s Journey will make founding a startup less of a mystery.

With no textbook or fixed curriculum, Zolot charges students with taking a more hands-on approach – one he says is most accurately represents what actually founding a tech company is like.

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