The hearing-impaired and even the deaf can now experience music, in a new collaboration between the Junge Symphoniker Hamburg Orchestra in Germany and wearable tech company CuteCircuit. The pair have created the Sound Shirt, an incredible garment that translates sound into vibrations. When the Junge Symphoniker Hamburg Orchestra plays classical music, the wearers can feel the various instruments, each sound interpreted by a software linked to the wireless shirts.
Believing that each person should have the right to experience music, the orchestra came up with the idea for the Sound Shirt. After six months of research and development, the shirt, and the orchestra’s stage are equipped to allow even the deaf to experience their performances.
First, microphones are arranged all over the stage to pick up the individual instruments. The recordings are sent to Sound Shirt’s software, which converts the sound into data. The data is then transmitted directly to the shirt.
The shirt itself resembles a comfortable athletic sweatshirt, which is lined with a flexible, wireless system. Throughout the Sound Shirt, CuteCircuit placed 16 motor, each assigned to a different instrument in the orchestra based on their sound and pitch. For example, the upright base is picked up on the stomach motor, and the violins are assigned to the arm and shoulder motors.
As the orchestra plays, the motors are activated, and vibrate with the intensity of the music, allowing the wearer to feel the encompassing sound of the full orchestra.