CuteCircuit's Sound Shirt Allows Deaf People To "Feel" Music

By

CCSS NAS-5 415 Words 3-Minute Listen
The Sound Shirt allows deaf people to experience live music real-time (Credit: CuteCircuit)

Though not as mainstream as devices like smartphones and fitness trackers, more companies are now experimenting with the concept of connected garments. Among the pioneers is London-based CuteCircuit, which has been creating fashionable smart clothing since 2004. The company's latest innovation is the "Sound Shirt," which allows deaf people to "feel" live music by transforming the tunes into touch sensations in real time.

The fashionable jacket achieves the incredible feat using software that converts the music into data and wirelessly sends it to the 16-micro actuators embedded inside the clothing's fabric. The devices vibrate in sync to the intensity of the music being played, allowing the wearer to feel each instrument individually. For example, violins can be felt on the arms, while the deeper, heavier bass notes can be felt close to the stomach. “We mapped intuitively how we thought the music would map to the body,” says CuteCircuit CEO Ryan Genz. The series of touch-like sensations across the wearer's torso enables them to feel the entire composition, resulting in a fully immersive musical experience.

The Sound Shirt is fitted with actuators that vibrate in synch with the music's intensity (Credit: CuteCircuit)

To ensure the shirt is comfortable, the designers opted to leave out wires and instead wove conductive textiles into the garment's fabric. Francesca Rosella, co-founder, and chief creative officer of CuteCircuit, explains, “There are no wires inside, so we’re only using smart fabrics - we have a combination of microelectronics [and] very thin and flexible, and conductive fabrics. All these little electronic motors are connected with these conductive fabrics so that the garment is soft and stretchable.”

CuteCircuit, which has been testing the Sound Shirt for three years, expects to make it available to the general public shortly. Priced at $3,673 (3,000 pounds), the smart jacket will not be cheap. However, twin sisters Hermon and Heroda Berhane, who lost their hearing at a young age, believe the hi-tech garment is a worthwhile investment, especially for deaf people with a passion for dancing. “It’s almost like feeling the depth of the music,” says Hermon. “It just feels as though we can move along with it." Heroda concurs, adding, “I think it could definitely change our lives."

This is not CuteCircuit's first groundbreaking smart garment. Over the years, the company has unveiled hundreds of stunning connected outfits. Among them is an interactive concert dress for American musical artist Nicole Scherzinger that displayed tweets from her fans. Also fun is the HugShirt which enables people to send hugs to loved ones who are not physically in the same area.

Resources: cutecircuit.com, reuters.com

Get the Workbook for this article!

Workbook contains: Article, Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking Questions, Vocabulary in Context (+ answers), Multiple Choice Quiz (+ answers), Parts of Speech Quiz (+ answers), Vocabulary Game (+ answers)
Cite Article
513 Comments
  • duplicat
    duplicatFriday, September 25, 2020 at 11:15 am
    why do i fell like if i was deaf wore that for the first time i would just start crying anyone else or just me?
    • rch9
      rch9Wednesday, September 2, 2020 at 10:44 am
      Cool every person should here music
      • dogo_maniac
        dogo_maniacFriday, August 21, 2020 at 5:57 am
        That's great!
        • riya12
          riya12Wednesday, August 12, 2020 at 6:09 am
          This was really nice and I would like this
          • lovebooks123
            lovebooks123Thursday, June 4, 2020 at 10:58 am
            that was nice of who ever made that
            • lpsbrooklyn11
              lpsbrooklyn11Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 4:44 pm
              I feel bad for all read people.....😢
              • arcticfoxwolf88
                arcticfoxwolf88Friday, March 20, 2020 at 5:47 pm
                really cool, like or follow me if you agree
                • xenoculus
                  xenoculusFriday, March 20, 2020 at 6:59 am
                  Neat
                  • hay_playz
                    hay_playzWednesday, February 19, 2020 at 3:28 pm
                    Cool
                    • nurejuve-157305169207
                      nurejuve-157305169207Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at 11:25 am
                      I love it I want it I NEED it.