Discover: A highlight of Vocal Vibrations is the Cocoon, a little room where visitors hold a vibrating orb. How does it work?
Machover: You have a high-quality little microphone that fits over your ear and comes across your cheek. When you pick up [the orb] and make a sound with your voice, you feel your voice in your hands. Every little nuance is reflected in its vibrating pattern.
Why would I want to feel my voice?
M: This is the start of an experiment. My intuition is that by controlling and learning to master the way your voice vibrates, there are all kinds of positive effects, from improving concentration to controlling things like blood pressure and heart rate.
Could your voice really change things happening inside your body?
M: Al Grodzinsky, who is a biomechanical engineer here at MIT, has said that he had a feeling that a regime of vibration exercises might be a really powerful thing to try. So that’s one of the things we’re starting to test.
What about using music for diagnosis?
M: A mathematician named Max Little works specifically on taking the speaking voice and doing signal processing on it, and finding out things about your state of health.
In particular, Parkinson’s disease happens to be something that, before you can diagnose early stage Parkinson’s in any other way, you can literally take someone speaking over the telephone and analyze it really quickly.