Our voice is used to communicate but it also defines our identity. Thus, a voice alteration or a complete speech loss can cause emotional and social issues. Patients suffering from an advanced stage of laryngeal cancer often have to undergo a total surgical removal of the human voice source, the larynx.
To recover the ability to speak, a prosthesis, mimicking the vocal folds, is usually placed between the trachea and the oesophagus. The exhaled air crosses a small tube and produces a substitute voice. Unfortunately, the created voice is of poor quality: it is weak, with a low fundamental frequency (pitch) and sounds mechanical. It has a huge psychological impact, especially on women, who generally struggle with their new masculine voice. In addition, the limited lifetime of the devices, due to biofilm coming from mucus/material interactions, forces a frequent device replacement.
To date, there is no voice prosthesis lasting more than 3 months and able to reconstruct a natural-sounding human voice.
In this context, bird vocal system should attract attention. First, their vocal repertoire is incredibly diverse, with pitch spanning from 100 to 12 000 Hz, compared to only 85 to 255 Hz in human speech. Moreover, their unique vocal organ, the syrinx, produces sounds from the vibration of membranes, located in the wall of the syrinx. The human vocal folds are perpendicular to the trachea, meaning that even in a resting open position, they are always partially obstructing the trachea. However in birds, the labia are on the walls of the syrinx, meaning that when the syringeal muscles are inactive, the labia are retracted and the two syrinx cavities are almost completely open. To date, the prostheses proposed to laryngectomized patients are mimicking the human vocal folds, with a one-way valve perpendicularly positioned in the tube and always partially obstructing it. The large contact area between the silicone valve and the air increases the chance of colonisation by a mixed biofilm of bacteria and yeasts.
Designing prostheses based on the avian vocal organ would not only provide alternatives to reduce biofilm formation, but could also produce higher frequency sounds, leading to voices that will sound more humane.
Creating an open database for collection and sharing of anonymous, public data.
Persons with cognitive disabilities rely on smart apps for entertainment communication and learning, however, today most of these apps do not collect data or are closed, which makes it impossible to quantitatively evaluate their performance and combine them.
Connect is an open database aiming at simplifying the collection and sharing of anonymous, public data.
By creating the means for interconnection and transparency, we aim at making possible a virtuous circle of app improvement:
-Users will be able to chose the best apps for their needs, and participate in research.
-Developers will be able to objectively demonstrate the quality of their apps, and integrate them within the larger ecosystem of participating apps.
-Funders will be able to measure the return on their investment, and contribute not only to the development of isolated products, but to the global improvement of an ecosystem of apps.
To demonstrate the principle of Connect we are building two open source apps in addition to the main database:
- MaVoix, an application for image-based communication to help non-verbal persons with cognitive disabilities. MaVoix will log the selection and usage of images, their combinations, the moment of the day when they are used, etc. This will help us build a large description of the different cognitive profiles, and a recommendation system to improve the user’s communication possibilities.
- MonQuotidien, a logger application that will allow caregivers to keep track of everyday life events. Through Connect, MonQuotidien will be able to provide a context for all other participating apps, for example, it could allow us to better tune the behaviour of MaVoix based on recent events.
All our project will be designed for open, and ment to be easily appropriated by the community.
We design DNA to create beauty, knowledge and positive change in the world.
We use network science and data analysis to decipher collective phenomena at biological and social scales
We develop research projects that place the body in motion at the heart of learning by leveraging digital technologies.
By combining Science & Design, we explore movement and gesture for learning in Education, Sport, Health & Art. In front of a digitized environment composed of screens (mouse & keyboard), which freeze the body, we are working at reversing this current paradigm. Through scientific research and in collaboration with field-actors, we then design tangible interfaces with embedded sensors.
The Motion Lab is an interdisciplinary community of designers and scientists who share a common vision of the significant values of practice-based research.
We use the principles of commons-based peer-production to create knowledge from bottom-up citizen science projects.
The aim of the Physics Inspired Machine Learning (PhIMal) Lab is to use tools from data-science and machine learning to leverage the discovery of physical models from experimental biophysical data.
The Lindner team’s main efforts rely on years of investment in building an intellectual and experimental framework based on interdisciplinary approaches, harnessing physics and computer science and on welcoming young researchers to address key questions in Life Sciences with Systems and Synthetic Biology approaches, mainly focusing on Escherichia coli as the simplest (yet still not fully understood) model organism. Focal projects include study of phenotypic variability, ageing, evolution of cooperation, probing RNA structure in vivo and RNA scaffolding.
We also develop open and citizen science projects extended from antimicrobial drug discovery and democratizing DNA detection to supporting Open Collaborative Efforts for Autism spectrum Network (OCEAN).
The team is at the core of building the CRI Collaboratory research effort and contributes to developing the CRI undergraduate and graduate programs as well as outreach learning through research programs across the globe. For the past 13 years, the team mentored the Paris Bettencourt iGEM team.
We develop synthetic biology tools for animal model organisms like the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
Participatory research for the educational sciences: Scaling the sharing of routine pedagogical experimentations and observations, and catalyzing their collective intelligence.
Teachers are considered as one of the major pivots for improving the educational system. Indeed, the variability between teachers could explain up to 20% of students’ progression (Nye et al. EEPA 2004). Research suggests that the best means for teachers professional development – and ultimately for enhancing students’ learning – is having to make visible, through self-reflection and interactions with peers, their teaching actions and observed results (Hattie, Visible Learning 2010). Indeed, millions of teachers learn to teach daily by experimenting and intuiting “what works” and “what doesn’t work”. In that sense, each classroom could be seen as a living research laboratory contributing to teaching and learning sciences. This project aims at catalysing such a collective intelligence by inviting teachers to join a community of “teacher-researchers” in which action plans, successes and failures are scientifically reported.
In this project we focus on kindergarten and primary school teachers. We focus on instances when teachers learn by reflecting about the impact of their pedagogical actions in students, collectively considered as “teaching research” studies. We created a series of workshops to accompany groups of teachers throughout the year to conduct and structure their “teaching research”. Inspired from frameworks from action research and reporting of medical research, teachers are invited to explicit their context, objectives, research questions, pedagogical interventions, results and conclusions (Schulz et al. BMJ 2010, Cohen et al. Research Methods in Education 2018). Workshops are grounded in the use of digital tools to gather and share the documentation of “teaching research” studies. Workshops are protocolised through scripts flexible enough to be adapted and reused by others, but rigid enough to ensure a common data collection frame. “Teaching research” reports are systematically analysed to develop bottom-up taxonomies for teachers’ objectives, interventions, results and conclusions. Such taxonomies are revised and re-used by teachers to use a common language, easing the conduct of aggregated analyses of “teaching research” studies.
This is a work in progress for a 3-year research program. Up-to-date, two groups of 20 teachers started the series of workshops in September 2019 in Paris, and two new groups of 5 and 10 teachers started in December 2019 in Vendée and Nancy.