Marko Ahtisaari was head of Nokia's esteemed design team until the Microsoft takeover was announced a couple of years ago, but hasn't been back in serious professional action since. He's now returning to a more prominent role by taking up the CEO position of The Sync Project, a collaborative venture designed to investigate the potential therapeutic effects of music. Here's Ahtisaari's explanation of the team's purpose and strategy:
"The Sync Project’s mission is to develop music as medicine. We are bringing together the scientists, technologists, clinicians and musicians of the world to accelerate the discovery of the clinical applications of music. We’re building a data platform that maps music characteristics to real time, objective measurements of physiology from a rapidly growing variety of sensors and devices."As his first act in the new leadership role, Ahtisaari is inaugurating a blog to keep people updated on the progress of The Sync Project. The overarching goal of the research is to try and establish a more scientific understanding of how music improves things like cognition and mood, and once decoded, how that information can help develop new forms of musical therapy. For now, it appears the project is all about bringing the relevant parties together to get the ball rolling: scientists and musicians to do the research, device makers to provide the sensors for tracking physiological responses, and patients who'd be willing to give it a try. It's an intriguing new initiative and Ahtisaari, with his experience both as a leader and a musician in his own right, is well positioned to steer it in the right direction.