The SoundShirt allows deaf audience members to feel music through touch sensations. It brings music to life in a way that it can be felt physically, live, in-realtime, on the body in a tactile language unique to each piece of music being performed, opening new and diverse ways of enjoying music for the audience. First developed in 2016, the SoundShirt is the music application of the CuteCircuit original HugShirt design developed in 2002. The SoundShirt 2.0 is the new version for 2019, in this new version we have increased the number of haptic actuators and software capabilities in order to create an event better experience for the wearers of the garment so that everyone can enjoy it.
What did you create?
The SoundShirt allows deaf audience members to feel music through touch sensations. It brings music to life in a way that it can be felt physically, live, in-realtime, on the body in a tactile language unique to each piece of music being performed, opening new and diverse ways of enjoying music for the audience. Using the SoundShirt, it is now possible to feel each passage of the music and each section of the orchestra as a unique and separate haptic sensation while the orchestra performs. During a live performance by the orchestra the wearer of the shirt will physically experience each musical passage and phrase as an individual sensation. Different instruments correspond to different locations of the sensation; for example the sounds from the violin section being more energetic and lighter are felt along the arms and shoulders, while deeper sounds of bass or kettle drums are felt deep in the lower areas of the body. The entire composition comes to life as a sensory language composed of a series of haptic, tactile, vibratory, and touch-like sensations across the body of the person wearing the shirt.
Why did you make it?
CuteCircuit is the pioneering design leader in the field of wearable technology; the company was founded in 2004 and is the world's first wearable technology fashion brand. The SoundShirt 2.0 project has allowed the company to create something that is simultaneously good design and is an effective new solution for an inclusive music experience for deaf and non-deaf people alike. Often innovation in design or fashion is described as a solution without a problem. Here with the SoundShirt we have an elegant and effective marriage of form and functionality in a way that genuinely creates a new experience for the wearer. When Frank Lloyd Wright said that “form and function are one”, this was an axiom that can be applied to all fields of design, but arguably this has not been effectively explored in the field of fashion. Wearable technology like this lights the way for what great wearable experiences should be and have the potential to be.
How did you make it?
In order to create the most comfortable experience for the wearer, the SoundShirt is created using specifically developed smart textiles; there are no wires at all in this piece of wearable technology. All of the conductive pathways within the garment are composed of woven conductive textiles that are seamlessly integrated into the actual fabric of the garment itself. All of these design details contribute to making a smart garment that can be worn like a normal garment and feels exactly like a garment should. The shirt contains 30 individual, powerful miniature haptic actuators. CuteCircuit also developed Q, the ultra-low latency computer software, that translates the music captured (by microphones placed on stage) from the instruments into haptic data that gets streamed to the shirts of the audience members. The sounds are transformed into haptic data and the system of 30 actuators recreates the sound modulation onto the wearer’s SoundShirt. While the intricate smart fabric and micro-electronics design is not visible from the outside, it is a design that exemplifies the advancements in wearable technology developed by CuteCircuit. The garment features a perfect mix of fashion design, 3D printed details, microelectronics, and stretchable circuitry that make the SoundShirt the world’s most advanced wearable device.
Your entry’s specification
The SoundShirt is made out of stretch fabric and it comes in various sizes: S, M, L so that everyone can wear them. The weight is 500 grams.