01/27/2012 01:47 pm ET

Rap Music Can Provide Power for New Medical Sensor

In a world where Jay-Z parties with Warren Buffett and Drake wants to play President Obama on film, it's clear that our society isn't as afraid of rap as it once was. But are we ready to admit that fat beats might actually have health benefits?

Maybe so. A newly created medical sensor is powered by sound, and the Purdue University researchers who built it figured the acoustic vibrations made by music might do the trick.

"A plain tone is a very annoying sound," Babak Ziaie, a professor of electrical engineering at the university, said in a written statement. "We thought it would be novel and also more aesthetically pleasing to use music."

And so the researchers tried powering the device with blues, jazz, rock, and rap - and rap came out on top. It seems the bass-heavy beat is just right for causing the vibrations that give the sensor the power it needs to monitor a patient's vital signs.

Rap might not be poised to take over hospitals, but the sensor may find use in several applications, including diagnosing urinary problems.