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


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.


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  • dancergirl2020
    dancergirl2020Friday, January 17, 2020 at 12:56 pm
    I really want one!!!!!!!!!!!
    • kdkdkdk
      kdkdkdkMonday, January 13, 2020 at 11:33 am
      omg I want this thing but I am not deaf.
      • themagicunicorn
        themagicunicornMonday, January 13, 2020 at 6:04 am
        that's cool stuff man and i'm 11 and i'm interested in it it's so cool
        • litmo
          litmoTuesday, December 17, 2019 at 8:14 am
          I whant to buy this how much
          • scienceguy_1234
            scienceguy_1234Saturday, December 14, 2019 at 7:33 am
            thats some cool stuff
            • ellyp264
              ellyp264Tuesday, December 10, 2019 at 11:09 am
              wow this cool!
              • maddiedogonews
                maddiedogonewsTuesday, December 10, 2019 at 6:41 am
                Welcome to the future, y'all.
                • skyisthicc
                  skyisthiccWednesday, December 4, 2019 at 7:53 am
                  I'M NOT DEAF BUT I NEED THIS!
                  • rucusuby-156537615186
                    rucusuby-156537615186Tuesday, December 3, 2019 at 11:01 am
                    I love"Feel" Music
                    • applemango
                      applemangoSunday, December 1, 2019 at 10:23 pm
                      The effect of the sound traveling is amazing! I actually like the design it kind of makes me think of the hunger games! The outfits...