Deaf and hard-of-hearing music fans enjoyed a unique live music experience at a London festival last weekend, thanks to innovative 5G-enabled haptic suits developed by Vodafone and Music Not Impossible.
Using the latest haptic technology, people wearing the suits are able to feel the music through vibrations delivered across touchpoints on the wrists, ankles and torso. In a world first, Vodafone has adapted these suits to convey the atmosphere of the crowd as well as the artist’s performance, using 5G receptors to capture the crowd noise and feed it back through the suits as vibrations in real-time.
Kyle Springate, a festival goer who trialled the wearable technology, and who is profoundly deaf, said: “Normally with a crowd that big and loud, the sound gets drowned out, and if the artist covers their mouth with the microphone you can’t lip read – it can get really difficult. But wearing the suit meant I could keep up with the songs much more easily, and when the crowd was going wild, I could feel it all the way up my spine. I felt like Superman!”
The suits made their debut at the Mighty Hoopla festival in Brockwell Park, south London, during singer-songwriter Jessie Ware’s headline set.
Alysha Allen, also testing the suits at the festival, said: “We could feel the crowd all around us, which is a totally different experience to only being able to focus on the stage. It let us really feel that connection with the crowd and the festival atmosphere around us.”
Jessie Ware performed a headline set at the festival
Jessie Ware said: “When I first heard about this tech I was blown away, and to see the reactions of the fans who have tried them already has been incredible.
“Music is for everyone, and it’s amazing to be able to change the way my deaf and hard-of-hearing fans can experience my shows. I’m really excited by their potential and would love to see these suits available at as many of my performances as possible in the future.”
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