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Yes, surgeons play music in the operating room. Lincoln firm's device pairs volume with vitals
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Yes, surgeons play music in the operating room. Lincoln firm's device pairs volume with vitals


You've probably seen it on a medical drama or in a movie: Surgeons jamming out to music in the operating room while performing a procedure.

It's not fiction; many surgeons do play music in the operating room. But if something goes wrong and the music becomes a distraction, that can be a problem.

A company co-founded by a Lincoln doctor has come up with a solution.

Canary Sound Design's CanaryBox links to patient monitoring devices and automatically lowers volume or mutes music if those vitals move outside a preset level.

"Music is an essential element in many operating rooms and surgical suites -- it's relaxing for the surgical team but at times can be a distraction or a barrier to communication," anesthesiologist Alistair MacDonald, co-founder of Canary Sound Design, said in a news release. "By integrating data from patient monitors with music volumes, CanaryBox automatically reduces background noise during periods when communication and speed of response are critical."

MacDonald, who is based in Missoula, Montana, founded the company with Eric Crimmins, a cardiac anesthesiologist at the Nebraska Heart Institute in Lincoln.

Canary Sound Design said the CanaryBox is being used at hospitals in Montana and Nebraska, and trials are scheduled at teaching hospitals in California and Tennessee later this year. Outpatient Surgery Magazine, in its December issue, named the CanaryBox one of "12 New Hot Anesthesia Products."

The company announced this week that it received $75,000 worth of local and state grant money: a $50,000 bioscience grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development and a $25,000 grant from the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development through the Launch LNK program.

The company currently lists its headquarters as Missoula, but the Launch LNK grant requires it to move its headquarters to Lincoln for at least one year.

Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


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Business reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

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