At HubWeek hackathon, one team ties together breathing and music

October 6, 2019

A patient sits in a hospital bed, trying to regain her lung capacity after surgery. As she blows into a medical device, her phone shows an encouraging animation and plays a satisfying electronic harmony that increases with the strength of her breathing.

The video demonstration of a product called “SPRYTHM” helped its creators take home a $30,000 prize on Thursday, as part of a HubWeek business competition that asked contestants to find novel ways to use music to improve health outcomes.

Dr. John Pearson, a University of Utah anesthesiologist who led the winning team, said the project is putting a twist on the incentive spirometer, a device that measures how deeply people can breathe. The devices are supposed to help patients practice improving their breathing, but they often go unused.

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