Haptic Shirt to Help the Hearing-Impaired Feel Music

Innovation to make life more accessible to the hearing-challenged has brought about the development of a haptic shirt. Developed by hearing challenged twins and tested at a recent Desperadoes Epic House Party, the shirt could offer a new way for individuals with hearing impairment to experience music. The party intended to be inclusive, and the shirt was part of the technology that was developed to ensure that goal.

A Shirt that Feels Music

Developed by a tech company called CuteCircuit, the haptic shirt was built to operate alongside music being played at the event. It allowed the twins that suggested the innovation to feel the music as it the DJ played it. The shirts utilized proprietary software from CuteCircuit to analyze incoming music and translate those into vibrations. The outfit then uses micro-actuators to deliver vibrations with varying speed and amplitude across the gear. The music is divided up into different frequencies, each with their own particular haptic feedback vibration pattern and location.

CuteCircuit isn’t new to the job of creating wearable haptic garments. In 2006, the company was involved in developing a technology included in its “Hug” shirt, which Time Magazine rated as the invention of the year. That garment was designed so that people could potentially send a hug to someone anywhere they could be connected. The idea came from questions to CuteCircuit about whether the hearing impaired could use the hug shirt to feel sound.

Inclusivity through Innovation

Technology improvements like the haptic shirt are crucial to increasing inclusivity in everyday life. Those who are impaired in some way usually have to adapt to the world around them that wasn’t designed for their specific disability. With technology like the shirt, people who aren’t like the rest of society can start to experience life just like everyone else without having to feel excluded from experiences because of their disability.