The device, strapped to a pregnant woman’s belly, creates music in response to the baby’s kicks and other movements.
Mozart composed his first piece of music at the tender age of five, a feat which rightly earned him the title of musical prodigy. But now, Canadian musician Aura Pon’s baby has beaten Mozart by more than five years. Yes, the math is correct because her baby “composed” music while still in the womb!
Aura Pon is a young mother who is also an accomplished flautist and composer. She recently received her PhD in music technology from the University of Calgary. She joined forces with her colleague Johnty Wang, who is working on his own music technology PhD, at McGill University. Together they have created Womba, a wearable device that translates the kicks of a prenatal baby into a sequence of musical tones audible to both mother and her baby in the womb.
Given her field of study, Pon was of course aware of the abundant research showing that prenatal children respond to, benefit from, and interact with external stimulation, especially musical stimuli. When she became pregnant, it was only natural for Pon to explore musical modes of bonding with the baby in her womb.
“It was magical (to hear my baby making music in my womb)”
The first prototype of Womba consisted of four sensors which were taped to Pon’s belly and connected with a church organ through a computer. “The location of certain kicks would set off corresponding chords,” Pon said. “As far as being a bonding tool, I’ll tell you that it was pretty amazing to be able to hear my baby making those sounds. It was magical.”
Pon and Wang used the pregnancy of Wang’s wife to continue refinement of Womba. The most current iteration of Womba uses many more sensors and reproduces the sounds of several different instruments. It includes a circular array of colored lights on the mother’s belly. These lights illuminate in response to the infant’s movements, adding a visual component to pre-birth musical compositions.
Womba’s design is evolving to be playable even after the child has left the womb
A patent for Womba is pending, and it has attracted the interest of an American company which is exploring making Womba commercially available.
Womba has generated some fascinating questions, such as:
- Will babies eventually become aware that the notes they hear are being generated by their own movements?
- Will babies develop the ability to deliberately control their production of musical tones?
- Will babies and their parents learn to play duets?
What an exciting and fun way to communicate with your baby in the womb! We’ll be following the future of Womba, and reporting on further developments. Let me know what you think! Thaïs
As one of the nation’s leading OB-GYNs, Dr. Thaïs Aliabadi offers the very best in gynecological and obstetric care. Supported by her warm professional team, Dr. Aliabadi treats women through all phases of life and fosters the special one-on-one relationship between patient and doctor. We invite you to establish care with Dr. Aliabadi. Please click here to make an appointment or call us at (844) 863-6700.
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