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Clarkson researchers receive grant for voice-box work

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POTSDAM — A team of Clarkson University faculty and student researchers received funds to develop a cost-effective way to give a voice to the voiceless. Senior Janine Amell and Professors Byron Erath, Laurel Kuxhaus and Kevin Fite received a $5,000 grant from Clarkson’s Academic Success Program to Improve Retention and Education to create a modified electrolarynx.

For decades, people whose larynx was removed because of cancer or other diseases used a handheld medical device to restore speech, but the device typically costs $500 to $700 — too expensive for many. The team is trying to design a reasonably priced alternative while also improving the sound quality and ease of use.

The project also is one of six finalists in an American Society of Mechanical Engineers Undergraduate Design contest.

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