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Tech turns hospitals into concert halls, diseases into songs

WBUR, December 30, 2010

What if, instead of an operating room cluttered with electronic beeps and tones, it were just filled with music? If the patient's body functions were normal, the music would play along beautifully. But if the patient had a problem - perhaps a drop in heart rate or trouble breathing - the music would change by becoming dissonant and off-key. That's the technology that Gil Alterovitz, a researcher at Harvard and MIT, is working to create. "We felt that music, in some sense, can serve as a translator," Alterovitz says, who is also affiliated with Children's Hospital Boston. "There's more and more information presented, so either we need a new super brain or we need a way to present it to the brain that we have in a way that it can handle it." His way is music, and his solution is to turn all those beeps and alarms into musical instruments.