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Using video kymography to take a better look at how vocal folds work

Project number 
Participating institutes 
Martini Ziekenhuis, Groningen, Lamberts Instruments
Project leader Jan Willem Hofstee

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Medische Wetenschappen
Biomedical Engineering

Postbus 196
9700 AD Groningen


Type project 
Medische wetenschappen
Biomedische technologie, Diagnostiek, Geluidtechnologie, Interferometry, Laser doppler velocimetry, Pathologie, Stemband, Stemstoornis

Professor Harm Schutte thought of using video kymography to analyse voice problems, a technique that can image irregular vocal-fold vibrations associated with an abnormal voice. As a medical specialist, Schutte advised many classical singers and made use of this technique when doing that. Together with researcher Qinjun Qiu he subsequently set up the company Cymo. They developed video kymography cameras, which recorded the movements of the vocal folds on video and subsequently analysed these. Cymo supplies the cameras to ENT specialists and hospitals throughout the world. A CE certification has been acquired for the European market.


How it works

In 1994 a Czech researcher sought a method for studying a voice break. He attempted to image this functioning of the voice with a stroboscope but those efforts were not successful. The stroboscopic technique works using light flashes as a result of which momentary images are obtained. For a poorly functioning vocal fold it is difficult to set off the flashlight at exactly the same time as the vocal fold does something. The idea therefore arose of developing a recording system that makes use of the top line of a video camera. By continually scanning this you can win time and that is the principle of video kymography.


Project title: Voice diagnostics in a new perspective (05973)

STW activity: Open Technology Programme

Project leader: Prof. H.K. Schutte

STW researcher: Dr A.Q. Qiu

Location: University Medical Center Groningen, Biomaterials

Partners in the research: Radboud University Medical Centre Nijmegen; Academic Medical Center Amsterdam

Organisations/companies in the user committee: Martini Hospital Groningen, Lamberts Instruments