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Drawing inspiration from birdsong to build efficient vocal prostheses

Drawing inspiration from birdsong to build efficient vocal prostheses

By In Aiv Internship On November 26, 2019


Internship title: Drawing inspiration from birdsong to build efficient vocal prostheses

LABORATORY
Name: Birdsong for human(e) voices
Affiliation: CRI Paris
Address: 8bis rue Charles V 75004 Paris
E-mail: pauline.provini@cri-paris.org

LAB Director
Name: Pauline Provini
Phone number: 0661153985
E-mail: pauline.provini@cri-paris.org

SUPERVISOR
Name: Pauline Provini
Phone number: 0661153985
E-mail: pauline.provini@cri-paris.org

Subject Keywords: Avian vocalisation
Morphology
Acoustic
Prototyping
Tools and methodologies: Anatomy (dissections, 3D models from CT-scans)
Acoustic (database management, signal treatment)
Analysis (R, Python)
Prototyping
Summary of lab\’s interests: Patients suffering from an advanced stage of laryngeal cancer often have to undergo a total surgical removal of the larynx, the human voice source. To recover the ability to speak, a prosthesis is placed between the trachea and the oesophagus. Unfortunately, the created voice is of poor quality: it is weak, with a low pitch and sounds mechanical. Moreover, the lifetime of the devices is limited, due to biofilm coming from mucus/material interactions. We want to draw inspiration from bird vocal organ, the syrinx, to build long-lasting voice prostheses and able to reconstruct a natural-sounding human voice.
Project summary: We want to understand the relationship between the morphology of the avian vocal system and the sounds birds can produce. The intern will use references from the literature, dissections, and CT scans of birds to explore the anatomy of the avian vocal system. In parallel she/he will extract acoustic parameters associated with vocalisations of the same bird species by using several online spectrogramme databases. The correlation between the anatomical and acoustic parameters will guide us to the design prototypes of vocal prostheses producing voices that are more humane.
Interdisciplinary aspect of the project: Integrating Comparative Anatomy to Acoustics involves skills from Biology and Physics.
By combining dissections with 3D model built from CT-scans, we want to benefit from traditional and state-of-the-art techniques to explore the anatomy of the bird vocal system.
The applied part of the internship will require skills in design and engineering (the CRI MakerLab will be involved) and discussion and meetings with medical doctors and industries building vocal prostheses in laryngectomized patients.