Belly Buzz
Baby Cry Analyzer


Any parent would love to know the meaning behind every baby whimper and cry, who wouldn’t? Now, thanks to researchers from Brown University and the Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, baffled parents the world over may have the chance to interpret different baby cries to detect possible problems in health and development.
The device is currently a computer-based instrument that works in two steps: First, it separates recorded cries into groups of frames and each batch is studied for frequency, voicing, and volume. The frames are then put back together, categorized as an utterance or a silence (pause between utterances) and regrouped according to similarities and variables.

The analyzer utilizes 80 different metrics to mark clues about a baby’s health. According to Browan University assistant professor Stephen Sheinkopf, “There are lots of conditions that might manifest in differences in cry acoustics. For instance, babies with birth trauma or brain injury as a result of complications in pregnancy, or birth of babies who are extremely premature can have ongoing medical effects.” Helping develop the device, he surmises that cry analysis will be a non-invasive way to measure disruptions in infants’ neurobiological and neurobehavioral systems. This will go a long way to early intervention to prevent and reduce the severity of any health problems.

The test results in the team’s paper published in Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research show an 88 to 95 percent accuracy rating for detecting voicing characteristics in the research samples. If research and development goes well, we may be able to look forward to more medical advancements from the insights that would be provided from the application of the analyzer. Hopefully, it would help parents interpret important development issues.

Photo credits:

Philippine Association for Childbirth Education

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