A new implantable medical pressure sensor is powered by rap music.

A microelectromechanical system, or MEMS created in the Birck Nanotechnology Center at the Purdue's Discovery Park uses a cantilever beam made from PZT ceramic material to generate electricity when compressed.

Musical tones between 200 and 500 Hz power the instrument.

Although plain tones work, they can be annoying to listen to, so the researchers experimented with music.

Of the four types of music they tried, rap, blues, jazz and rock, rap was the best because it contains a lot of low frequency sound.

A receiver picks up the data from the sensor up to several inches from the patient.

The sensor is capable of monitoring pressure in the urinary bladder and in the sack of a blood vessel damaged by an aneurism.

Such a technology could be used in a system for treating incontinence in people with paralysis by checking bladder pressure and stimulating the spinal cord to close the sphincter that controls urine flow from the bladder.

More immediately, it could be used to diagnose incontinence.

The conventional diagnostic method now is to insert a probe with a catheter, which must be in place for several hours while the patient remains at the hospital.

An implantable device would allow the patient to go home and monitor their status with a portable instrument and an MP3 player.

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