Last night, the 27th First Annual IG Nobel Prize Ceremony was held at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. The cheeky ceremony honored achievements in science, economics, and peace while also lightly poking fun at the real Nobel Prize Awards. Recipients included doctors who studied such serious, but silly, questions as “why do old men have big ears?” and “could the didgeridoo be an alternative treatment for sleep apnea?” But the real talk of this year’s awards was the Obstetrics Prize, as the award was given to a group of researchers from Spain for their study that proves that women should put a speaker in their vaginas to stimulate fetuses.
The study, conducted by Marisa López-Teijón, Álex García-Faura, and Alberto Prats-Galino, tested a fetal acoustic stimulation device versus headphones on 106 pregnant women to find how they affected fetuses facial expressions and development. The researchers found that “fetuses at 16–39 weeks of gestation respond to intravaginally emitted music with repetitive MT and TE movements not observed with ABM or IVV.” Translation: women who put a speaker into their vagina during their pregnancy can see a noticeable response via facial expressions from their fetuses that is not demonstrated with music that comes from the abdomen or other parts of the body.
This all may sound a bit ridiculous, but it’s also incredibly interesting, especially given the fact that this pregnancy-specific speaker can actually be bought online. It’s called Babypod and it is a speaker that allows music to be transmitted vaginally instead of through the abdomen. Why? As the website says, “the only way the music can really reach the baby is vaginally.” The Babypod costs nearly $170, but now that the makers can point to winning an IG Nobel Prize, they might see a serious bump in their sales. After all, who can put a price on getting to see a fetus make more recognizable facial expressions while listening to Rubber Soul?