Chicago Lyric Opera’s “SoundShirts” for the hearing impaired

  • This is such a wonderful example of the intersection of science and music! The Chicago Lyric Opera has introduced a pilot program offering SoundShirts, “equipped with 16 haptic actuators that transmit sound from the orchestra and stage into pulses, vibrations, and other forms of haptic feedback in the shirt itself.”

    The article points out that

    like many opera houses, the Lyric offers performances with American Sign Language interpretation, projected subtitles, and assisted listening devices for deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons. For blind people and those with low vision, the Lyric provides Braille and large-print programs, audio-described performances, high-powered glasses and pre-performance “touch tours,” allowing audience members to feel various props, costumes and surfaces before the curtain rises.

    But adds -

    “The SoundShirt, though, is cut from a different cloth than most accessibility technology, providing a mediated experience of the music that registers as physical and personal.”

    Bravo to the Chicago Lyric Opera and to Cute Circuit, the London wearable technology company that makes the shirts!