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Inside the throat of a beatboxer
Nate Ball lets Dr. Quyen Nguyen use an endoscope to get a closer look at his throat while he beatboxes.
October 27th, 2011
10:14 PM ET

Inside the throat of a beatboxer

Nate Ball let the TEDMED audience see the inside of his throat Thursday night while he beatboxed. Dr. Quyen Nguyen used an endoscope on stage to give us an up-close-and-personal look at how these sounds are produced inside him.

Ball, an engineer by training, has a keen curiosity about what's going in his body when he beatboxes. He let Dr. Charles Limb, also on stage, look at images of his brain while beatboxing, too, on a different occasion.

Limb saw that Ball's brain has very different patterns of activity when improvising and when spouting out an established beat. Creating a new beat on the fly seems to involve shutting down a portion of the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in self-monitoring, and activating other neural networks; there is increased cerebellum activity in improvisation, for example.

CNN.com is catching up with Ball, Limb and Nguyen on camera. Stay tuned for future pieces on what makes each of their individual projects fascinating.


soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. farie710

    Too bad CNN didn't post a small video of this. I think that's a really cool concept 🙂

    October 28, 2011 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. AlwaysTri

    I was thinking the same! I would've loved to see the video of this.

    October 28, 2011 at 12:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. SouthernGirl

    Yeah, that would totally be great. I've always wondered how they could do that.... Very hard to do, a talent to do it well......

    October 29, 2011 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.