Can you FEEL the music? Shirt embedded with sensors creates vibrations so deaf people can experience the sound of music through sensations

  • Sound Shirt is designed with 16 sensors that transforms music into data
  • It connects to a computer system that picks up the audio from microphones
  • Sensors vibrate to portray the sound of the music into a feeling for the wearer 

A new wearable transforms the sound of music into a feeling.

Called Sound Shirt, this garment is embedded with 16 sensors that send sensations throughout the body that coincide with the music being played to create a fully immersive feeling for a deaf audience member.

The high-tech shirt connects to a computer system that picks up the audio from microphones placed at various points around a stage – enabling those without hearing to enjoy concerts, symphonies and even musicals.

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Sound Shirt is embedded with 16 sensors that send haptic sensations throughout the body that coincide with the music being played to create a fully immersive feeling for a deaf audience member

Sound Shirt is embedded with 16 sensors that send haptic sensations throughout the body that coincide with the music being played to create a fully immersive feeling for a deaf audience member

The Sound Shirt was developed by CuteCircuit, a London-based firm, which has designed flashy outfits for Katy Perry to wear during concerts.

‘The Soundshirt allows a deaf person to feel music on their skin and experience a live symphonic concert for the first time,’ CuteCircuit explained

‘Just by looking at the reactions of the deaf members of the audience in the video we can see how their expression becomes enchanted and joyful, this tactile full immersion in music is something that truly allows the experience of a live concert to be finally shared by everyone.’

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The Sound Shirt is connected to a computer system that picks up the audio from microphones placed at various points around the stage. 

The wearable is fitted with 16 micro-actuators placed throughout that receive wirelessly and in real-time music, which is then transformed into data.

‘We mapped intuitively how we thought the music would map to the body,’ CuteCircuit CEO Ryan Genz told Fortune.

‘The deeper, heavier bass notes [activate the actuators] down in lower parts of torso, and the lighter sections, like violin and lighter notes, further up on the body, around the neck area and clavicle. ‘

The Sound Shirt is connected to a computer system that picks up the audio from microphones placed at various points around the orchestra's stage

The Sound Shirt is connected to a computer system that picks up the audio from microphones placed at various points around the orchestra’s stage

The deeper, heavier bass notes [activate the actuators] down in lower parts of torso, and the lighter sections, like violin and lighter notes, further up on the body, around the neck area and clavicle

The deeper, heavier bass notes [activate the actuators] down in lower parts of torso, and the lighter sections, like violin and lighter notes, further up on the body, around the neck area and clavicle

‘As they’re watching the orchestra, they can see certain areas are more active than others; they feel soundwaves in specific areas of the body, and within a few minutes understand there is a correlation.’

The shirt was also designed to feel comfortable against the skin, as there are no wires and was developed with ‘soft stretch fabrics’.

Francesca Rosella, co-founder and chief creative officer of CuteCircuit, told Reuters ‘inside the shirt — that, by the way, is completely textiles, there are no wires inside, so we’re only using smart fabrics — we have a combination of microelectronics … very thin and flexible and conductive fabrics.’

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And it has proven successful in the real world for twin who love to dance, but both lost their hearing at a young age — and the firm has contracted them to model the high-tech shorts.

Sound Shirts don't come cheap, as they are expected to go on sale at more than  $3,675

Sound Shirts don’t come cheap, as they are expected to go on sale at more than  $3,675

‘It’s almost like feeling the depth of the music,’ Hermon Berhane told Reuters. ‘It just feels as though we can move along with it.’

Sound Shirts don’t come cheap, as they are expected to go on sale at more than $3,673, but Heroda believes it’s a price worth paying for deaf people who enjoy music as much as she and her sister do.

‘I think it could definitely change our lives,’ Hermon Berhane said.

 



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