Deaf enjoy Tchaikovsky music in ‘Sound shirt’ test

A vibrating shirt (‘V-shirt’) may give deaf people the chance to ‘feel’ music all over their body thanks to the efforts by a Hamburg advertising agency Jung von Matt and a London fashion company CuteCircuit, dpa reports.  Their ‘Sound shirt’ was recently tested on two deaf people who gave it the thumbs-up. According to the agency, it is a tight-fitting blue jacket made of synthetic fibres and containing 16 tiny motors. The shirt processes sounds through eight microphones and converts them into vibrations. For instance, if it is the violin being played, the deaf can feel the vibrations on their chest and upper arm. If it is the percussion, they can feel it in their lower back. The prototype of the shirt had been undergoing tests with the Junge Symphoniker Hamburg, an amateur orchestra founded in 2001. The device was recently tested at a classical music concert featuring Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and Symphony Number 4 in F minor in Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle concert hall. From hundreds of deaf applicants who wanted to try out this wearable device, two were selected. Claudia Weyel, a 50-year-old teacher from Frankfurt who has never been to a classical music concert before, was so thrilled by the music that touched her all over that she wanted to experience it again.  Mischa Gohlke, 37, from Hamburg who plays the guitar in his own band, thoroughly enjoyed the concert. He said the ‘Sound shirt’ can be fine-tuned to help the deaf absorb music more clearly. The ‘Sound shirt’ idea first came up at Jung von Matt which sponsored the project for the current prototype shirt costing $24,000.