The incredible shirt that’s letting deaf people *feel* the sound of a full orchestra

26 July 2016, 16:05 | Updated: 6 January 2017, 14:45

A heart-warming moment when profoundly deaf people experience classical music in full for the very first time. And it’s all thanks to wearable technology.

Music was always meant to be felt, but this has been taken to a new level with the Sound Shirt, an innovation from London based tech-fashion firm CuteCircuit in collaboration with the Junge Symphoniker Hamburg. This amazing shirt is filled with tiny motors which create vibrations with relation to the intensity of the live music being played, with the intention of helping deaf people feel music.

How it works

Microphones on stage with the orchestra pick up audio signals which are converted into pulses and vibrations of varying intensities by a computer. Different sections of the orchestra are mapped onto different parts of the body (lower strings on the stomach, violins on the chest, brass on the upper back, etc) so that deaf audience members can immerse themselves in classical music just as hearing people can.

Watch it here. Goosebumps guaranteed.

At the moment the Sound Shirt is only a prototype used by the Junge Symphoniker Hamburg, but the designers hope that it can bring classical music to people who would have never had the chance otherwise before.