Artful Innovation: Inclusive Design and Technology

July 20 – August 30, 2017 | A Jean Kennedy Smith Arts and Disability Program

The Soundshirt


The SoundShirt was created by pioneering wearable technology fashion brand CuteCircuit in collaboration with the Junge Symphoniker Orchestra (Hamburg). The SoundShirt provides a tactile and visual experience of live music for audience members who are deaf.
Microphones placed on stage nearby the orchestra capture the instruments’ music and send it to a computer that transforms it into touch data. This data is sent to the wireless actuators in the shirt that then vibrate according to the music’s intensity. The sounds are felt as haptic sensations and appear as moving lights in different locations on the shirt depending on whether they are delicate sounds from a violin or heavy ones from a drum.

The SoundShirt is a new embodiment of CuteCircuit’s HugShirt (from 2002), the world’s first Wearable Touch Telecommunication shirt that allowed people to share a touch and hug over distance.

CuteCircuit website
A woman is pictured sitting in a theater where the music activates the Soundshirt's light up dots and haptic sensations.