CALGARY, June 12, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – A pair of music researchers have invented a musical instrument designed to be played by a preborn child in the womb.
Aura Pon, a mother who holds a music technology PhD from the University of Calgary, has teamed up with Johnty Wang to invent the “world’s first prenatal musical instrument,” CTV News reports.
The device, dubbed the Womba, is strapped to a pregnant woman’s belly and creates music in response to the kicks and other movements of the baby growing inside her. Users can choose a variety of different sounds, and speakers enable both mother and child to hear the results. Its creators also hope to adapt the device for the baby to continue using after birth.
The device’s function and evolution can be seen in the following video:
“I thought it would be kind of fun to have him make sound,” Pon said, explaining that she first got the idea while pregnant with her first child in 2013. “I'm always interested in different ways you can interact with sound and music.”
“The first version of the Womba was, essentially, just sensors taped to my belly which were set up to trigger sounds on a church organ. The location of certain kicks would set off certain chords,” she elaborated to the university’s news website UToday. “As far as being a bonding tool, I’ll tell you that it was pretty amazing to be able to hear my baby making these sounds. It was magical.”
Pon and Wang, whose own wife was pregnant as well, spent the next few years evolving the concept from a hobby into a serious project to take advantage of the “Mozart effect,” the developmental benefit believed to come with playing music for children during pregnancy.
“It's also about bonding,” Pon added, stressing that the Womba also serves as an innovative way to convey the personhood of the being in the womb. “Those that can't feel the kicks all the time, you know, they can now see it and hear it and start to be like, 'That's a person in there.'”
Pon and Wang have applied for a U.S. patent for the Womba, and say a company has already expressed interest in helping develop it.