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Innovative music-based cardiac recovery device will play music for the heart

December 5, 2012

TORONTO, Dec. 5, 2012 – You’ve heard of music being played from the heart or with heart. Well how about music for the heart?

Vigour Projects, a subsidiary of SoulCan Music Ltd., has been awarded $49,900 from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) for an innovative approach to helping cardiac patients through the use of music.

The funding came from OCE’s Social Innovation program for social enterprises and not-for-profits working in health improvement and will be matched by industry and academic cash and in-kind contributions worth an additional $50,000.

The project will advance collaborations between Vigour Projects, Headwaters Research and Development Inc. and the University of Toronto to invent and test a physiological sensory music-assisted device that will better motivate cardiac rehabilitation patients to exercise.

“The collaboration is a great demonstration of organizations uniting to develop a cutting edge technology that will ultimately help quite a large group of individuals sustain a longer life expectancy,” explains Denise Brennan, Program Manager, Social Innovation, Ontario Centres of Excellence.

This particular project brings academic scientists from the partners, ambulatory community cardiology clinics and the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Program at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (the largest cardiac rehabilitation program of its kind in Canada) to collaborate and create a device designed to monitor and sense an individual’s physiological parameters to music and to encourage increased activity levels.

Based on their personal preferences, users of the device will select a music playlist which researchers will then use to shape the audio music file output based on tempo, various rhythms, and genre to help determine an individual’s optimal prescribed exercise activity level.

Up to 45 volunteers will try out the device over a 12-week period. Ongoing tests will be conducted to assess and monitor exercise motivation; exercise self-management self-efficacy and adherence to exercise. Other measures and subjective opinions about the role of music in exercise will also be collected and analyzed.

“The funding Vigour has received from OCE, in-kind and from industry will enable us to monitor and motivate patients who are generally resistant to exercise due to their physical and/or motivational limitations,” explains Dr. David Alter, Cardiologist, Clinical Epidemiologist, Research Director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation and Secondary Prevention Program, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Founder President, Vigour Projects. “The work we will be undertaking using music as a behavioural motivator and a physiological regulator will not only encourage patients to become more physically active in their daily activities without even realizing it, it will ultimately help to decrease mortality rates by encouraging them to adopt a more active lifestyle with subtle progression.”

The Ontario Centres of Excellence Social Innovation program encourages industry, academia, not-for-profit organizations and social enterprises to build new and enhance existing partnerships. The program is also a vehicle for academic engagement, leveraging research expertise to address social and environmental problems.

OCE’s Social Innovation program is supported by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI), the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration (MCI), and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (MCYS). SiG@MaRS is a strategic partner in this initiative.

About Vigour Projects
Vigour Projects (SoulCan Music LTD) is a Social Purpose Business dedicated to exploring and pursuing the positive impact that music can have on the health of individuals and communities. The organization brings together cutting-edge medical research and artistic expression toward a goal of community health and development.  Vigour Projects’ mission is to actively improve health through music. Our organization is unique in that most are both musicians and health providers/health researchers. We work collaboratively with academic institutions, hospitals, government, non-profits, and the private-sector. We focus heavily on three music-health themes: (1) Knowledge-translation (to improve the dissemination of medical and health promotion related education to individuals through the delivery of music); (2) community social engagement through music-related activities; (3) Health-music technology innovation (music assistive devices to improve health and quality of life). (SoulCan Music LTD) is a MaRS Social Innovation Group listed company. Vigour Projects wishes to acknowledge the support by PAM BV for the provision of physical activity monitors to help evaluate the role of music with exercise. PAM BV is a Dutch company aimed at developing scientific-based, validated, and quality, activity monitors to inspire people to get moving.

About Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
One of North America’s leading rehabilitation sciences centres, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute is revolutionizing rehabilitation by helping people overcome the challenges of disabling injury, illness or age related health conditions to live active, healthier, more independent lives. It integrates innovative patient care, groundbreaking research and diverse education to build healthier communities and advance the role of rehabilitation in the health system.  Toronto Rehab, along with Toronto Western, Toronto General and Princess Margaret Hospitals, is a member of the University Health Network and is affiliated with the University of Toronto.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (
Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, Ontario Centres of Excellence invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE through its Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), an initiative supported by the federal government, also acts as a catalyst which allows innovative businesses to grow and achieve sustainable commercial success and global competitiveness. Ontario Centres of Excellence is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is Ontario's innovation system. The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies, and create jobs. For more information visit

Media contact:

Stuart Green
Manager, Media Relations
416-861-1092 x 1022