Watching live music is such a unique auditory experience. You get to see a talented band or an artist on stage express their personality while getting to hear both instrumental sounds and vocals blend around you in real-time. But, for the deaf community, that auditory experience can be unavailable, which can attribute to feelings of social isolation. A fashion tech company, Cute Circuit, intends to promote more inclusion during performances by allowing the deaf to begin feeling the music with SoundShirt.
SoundShirt is a wearable device equipped with haptic sensors to allow the user to feel the music on their skin. The SoundShirt incorporates 30 micro-actuators embedded into the fabric that applies effects like vibration, motion, or force onto the user. The SoundShirt translates sound real-time to provide a tactile experience that is unique to each piece of music. It does this by splitting music into different frequencies so that the bass and different kinds of trebles can all provide a different touch sensation within the fabric.
"In this way the violins can be felt on the arms and the drums on the back creating a fully immersive feeling for a deaf audience member " - Cute Circuit
This innovation has a sizeable inclusionary impact on the deaf community. A lot of concerts that have speech elements have sign language interpreters to help translate the vocal parts of their music, but there isn't much that performers can do to help translate the instrumental sounds. But now, with the SoundShirt, the deaf will be able to physically "feel the music" and be able to dance and also share this unique experience with friends.
Orchestras, Concert Halls, and Performers who want to provide a more unique and inclusionary experience for their audiences can start purchasing the SoundShirt now. There are special packages available for both museums for $12,322.35 and orchestras for $14,267.99. And if you are a music or game developer and want to start utilizing the SoundShirt to create more inclusionary experiences, you can purchase the SoundShirt Dev Kit for $3,891.27.