Wearable laryngeal vibration system for Spasmodic Dysphonia (20170400)

A non-invasive neuromodulation device and method for the treatment of spasmodic dysphonia.
Technology No. 20170400
IP Status: Utility Patent Pending; Application #: 16/201,230

Applications

  • Medical device to treat spasmodic dysphonia

Key Benefits & Differentiators

  • Non-invasive neuromodulation using vibro-tactile stimulation
  • Voice activated vibration for better user experience and lower power consumption
  • Mobile App to control device wirelessly
  • Wearable ”collar-like” design: functionally and aesthetically unobtrusive

A wearable collar-like device to treat the voice disorder spasmodic dysphonia

Spasmodic dysphonia, also known as laryngeal dystonia, is a chronic voice disorder in which the muscles that are active during a person's speech go into unwanted spasms that cause strained/choked speech. Currently available treatment methods are suboptimal: Voice therapy is ineffective. Application of Botulinum toxin (Botox) can only provide temporary relief requiring repeat injection and has side effects. Surgery shows limited efficacy and with imperfect post-surgery voice and other side effects. 

Prof. Jürgen Konczak’s research group at the University of Minnesota have developed a wearable medical device that utilize laryngeal vibro-tactile stimulation (VTS) as a non-invasive form of neuromodulation to induce measurable improvements in the speech and voice symptoms of patients with spasmodic dysphonia. This “collar-like” device consists of vibrators, positioned around the neck of a user, that stimulates the skin above the larynx and/or the neck. Equipped with a speech detection/recognition module, timed vibrations are delivered automatically to the target region. Laryngeal VTS at the right frequency and amplitude triggers signals from mechanoreceptors in the muscles of the larynx and the tactile mechanoreceptors in the skin above the larynx. Research by the group has shown preliminary evidence that this device induces a measurable neuromodulation effect at the level of the sensorimotor cortex, which is linked to observable improvements in voice quality of patients with spasmodic dysphonia.

Phase of Development

TRL: 5-6
Pilot scale demonstration in patients.

Desired Partnerships

This technology is now available for:
  • License
  • Sponsored research
  • Co-development

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