PROVIDENCE – Researchers at Brown University have created an audio detection tool that can analyze a baby’s cry and detect if the cause is harmless or if there is a more serious issue.
A two-year collaboration between Brown’s Laboratory for Engineering Man/Machine Systems and Women & Infants Hospital has resulted in a new computer-based tool that can perform advanced acoustic analyses of babies’ cries.
Researcher Harvey Silverman, professor of engineering and director of Brown’s Laboratory for Engineering Man/Machine Systems, and graduate students Brian Reggiannini and Xiaoxue Li worked closely with Stephen Sheinkopf, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior and Barry Lester, director of Brown’s Center for the Study of Children at Risk on the project.
The hope was that by analyzing the variations in a baby’s cry, they can identify trends in children with neurological problems or developmental disorders. The tool works by evaluating 80 different acoustic parameters, each of which could hold clues about a baby’s health.
The Brown research team hopes to make the device available to researchers around the world soon to gather more data that shows links between the sound of a cry and the presence of developmental disorders.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.