Fresh Pulse: technology that helps deaf people to “feel” live music.

Looking from afar, not everyone can feel the sound of bass buzzing in the same way [الجهير الصاخب] Or the beating of drums and other vibrations emanating from a party inside a loud festival.The vibrations generated by speakers can reach a certain distance, and if there are people in the audience who suffer from deafness or hearing problems, their sense of sound will be very different from the feeling of the majority of those present around them. “It’s at a party at a club or a nightclub or a party, and the speakers are always far away,” says deaf DJ John McDevitt at the Mighty Hoopla in Brixton.

But today there is a new technological invention backed by Vodafone that may soon offer a different experience in this field.

The new technology is a tangible suit that includes 24 concussion points (vibration) distributed throughout the body, including points attached to the wrists and ankles, and these vibration points appear to be able to give the deaf and hard of hearing the ability to feel the music in accordance with its resonance on stage.

While hearing experiences based on (acoustic) vibrations are known and not new to the deaf, this “suit” promises to provide a unique experience for the deaf, by including two interconnected technological approaches.

“The first approach is to take the music directly from the artist (or source) in real time, and convert it into vibrations radiated by your body to create the sensation of a vibrating sound environment,” explains Dani Valkova of UNIT9 Productions. of its kind in the world, thanks to the use of Vodafone’s high-speed network of the fifth generation “G5”, we can take recordings of the crowd and convert them into data, then we use the latest automated technology to transform the crowd sounds contained in vibrations and sensations on the body. ” .

In the same way that a suit translates the sound of the crowd into vibrations, Valkova uses a similar analogy to enhance the futuristic sense that technology makes possible. “We took all the ways a crowd can interact and put them together in different situations,” she explained in front of the crowd in what looks like the matrix [ماتريكس]One side is energy and the other side is density.

Seasonal concert-goers are aware of the sensation of low-frequency chest knock sounds during a performance, but most of the sensations will not be focused there using the haptic suit, which stays active for 10 hours thanks to the battery, so the place where deaf and hard of hearing audiences will feel the music remains quite a technical decision.

Also, while wearing a suit and joining others in the audience before last Saturday’s Jesse Ware performance at the Mighty Hubla Festival, “Vibration Composer” C. The Innovative Device, and we were briefed on Weir ‘s performance that the sensors on the wearer’s joints and shoulders will reproduce the sound of the audience’s applause, while the sounds of throats and drums will be felt around the ribs and on the ankles, respectively, and it works well in the case of hard tracks like “Wilddust” “Wildest Moments, while Weir’s soothing songs will leave a deaf person wondering if the suit really works.

And Teo, who wore a brightly colored Snapback on that sunny Saturday, spoke with remarkable enthusiasm about the innovative device, declaring his willingness to reveal more about this technology after testing it if necessary, and that enthusiasm has among the artists self-echoing, like True, seemingly shining, With a purple eyeshadow makeup, she gave us a broad smile and expressed her support for making this technology available to the public.

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In a chat with her in the dressing room, she said: “Music is for everyone and should be for everyone. Interaction and a sense of participation are very important, especially at parties and from the point of view of someone who likes to participate adopt it, for the deaf, and so that they can feel included, active and important as an audience, this Technology is great, and when you’re at a party or a party or any other occasion, you feel the energy around you, so for the deaf it changes the whole thing, it will be possible for them to enjoy the atmosphere of the party, to be [الجهاز] For them, something is able to breathe life into the music being performed. That’s a wonderful change. “

McDevitt, in turn, uses the same phrase to describe his experience using this technology, as he admitted: “At first I did not know what to expect, because I thought the suit would only get concussion, but different parts of it [عكست] different machines. For example, as the tremor of the guitar disappeared, the tremor of the drums increased, and this happened in different parts of the pack, and then there were sensor points on the wrist that were attached to the audience. ”

And every time the audience responds to an order, the concussion transmits it. “It seemed like things were very well coordinated, and I was really impressed by that.”

Gemma Jeffrey, a Jessie Ware fan who is completely deaf in her right ear, also expressed a similar view, saying after her artist’s performance: “It was a fantastic performance.” She added: “When deaf people go to concerts, it’s often about the atmosphere, and I felt that this technology contributes positively. A piece like ‘Running’.” [Running] (One of Weir’s songs) It came out great because you can feel all the peaks and it makes you feel more like dancing. It is truly advanced technology that is made available to people. ”

But amid these favorable and positive comments, questions were soon raised about the future uses of this technology. In this regard, when I asked him if he would use this technology, Cory Labrousse, who uses a cochlear implant, said: “It depends on how comfortable you feel when you mix with others and walk between them. It is’ a big question mark. I mean I know it’s a new technology, but are we going to get used to it gradually in the future? I’m not quite sure, but I think we all support it. “

Other posts were also issued ahead of the preparations for the Mighty Hubla Festival, and I was eager to consider technology as part of a new situation.

“It is very exciting that more of our audience will be able to enjoy the full experience thanks to this technology,” the legendary pop group Steps said before their concert on Friday. The Sugababes, who made headlines last Saturday, said that “everyone should be welcome for live concerts, and that’s a smart way to get as many people as possible into the party atmosphere.”

Charitable institutions for the care of people with disabilities, for their part, have expressed their enthusiasm for the possibilities offered by this technology.

In this context, Jacob Adams of the live music organization Attitude is Everything wrote in an email, “Branchable devices like these open up new possibilities that enhance the ability of deaf and hard of hearing people to enjoy the shows, and we often hear of these people that their connection shows do not always make them feel like they are part of the audience, so we are very interested in such a device that might accommodate auditory interactions. “

The Mighty Hubla Festival was about to announce the technology for the first time, but the team behind the design and creation of the suit hopes that their invention will evolve over time. With artists and philanthropic organizations enthusiastic and supportive of innovative technology, deaf music fans and fans feel versatile optimism about the future of fusion concerts and festivals.

Published in The Independent on June 11, 2022

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