A new vibration suit is helping members of the deaf and hard of hearing community experience and enjoy live music in a brand new way.
The suit, which includes a vest and wrist and ankle bands, translates sounds into vibrations and enables the wearer to “feel” their favorite tunes across their body.
Music has always been about more than just sound – everyone feels it on a physical level. A great song can grab the audience in a variety of ways, from its engaging lyrics to the band’s energetic performance to that deep rattle you feel in your chest from the drum or bass guitar. And it’s these vibrations that the suit uses to enhance the concert-going experience for people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The wireless suit reads vibrations from specific instruments and transmits them to the vest, wristbands, and ankle bands. The suit can be tailored to an individual’s unique preference or music experience, such as whether the wearer wants to feel the vibrations all over their body or just in specific, targeted zones.
While the suit, developed by Not Impossible Labs, certainly enhances the music experience for fans who are deaf or hard of hearing, the manufacturer has found that it also creates a new appreciation of music for all people, regardless of hearing capability. Much like the “curb cut effect” – that little lowered wedge in sidewalks initially designed to make public streets accessible to wheelchair users but today are a godsend to mothers with strollers, kids on bikes, and folks with crutches – the suit could have universal appeal.
The suit was first unveiled at last year’s South by Southwest Music Festival and has since undergone a series of updates and improvements on the suit’s technology, look, and comfort. The final product still is in development, and the company intends to offer them on to select venues and/or artists.