The first ever concert for the deaf will take place in Toronto at Clifton’s Tavern on March 5th. Enabling this unusual event is the Emoti-Chair, an invention from Ryerson University’s Centre of Learning Technology and the Science of Music, Auditory Research and Technology Lab. This chair acts as a kind of beat translator which transfers sound frequencies into different types of physical actions which can be felt by the body such as motion, vibration and blasts of air to the face. Captioning, interpreters and music visualizations will round out the efforts to map sound into other sensing modalities.
A user explains the experience of “feeling”music through the Emoti-Chair:
“The first time I used the chair, I was blown away by the amount of information I could get about music from the vibrations,” Hibbard said. “For the first time in my life, I could feel sad or happy because of how the music vibrations felt on my skin. I never felt those kinds of feelings before when music was played. It was how the chair ‘played’ the music that enabled me to have a shared experience with people who are emotionally moved by listening to music.”