New Neckpiece May Give Hearing Impaired Users A Chance To Feel The Beat

Frederik Podzuweit is young German industrial designer, skilled in both 3D and 2D visualizations. These abilities, coupled with a healthy dose of futuristic forethought led him to create his "music for deaf people" device, a collar which translates sound into vibration, allowing the user to actually "feel" the music to a far greater degree.

Traditional thinking has always assumed that those with less than optimal hearing capabilities could simply not benefit from music in the same way as the rest of the constantly noise-bombarded population, despite the oft-cited bit of trivia that Beethoven himself was deaf.

Not one to conform, Frederik created his new concept collar, which would allow a special membrane substance to expand and contract based on the electrical impulses sent to it. These impulses would be determined by the pace and volume of the music being played through the device. This, in turn, would produce a series of vibrations along the collarbones, shoulders and back of the neck for the "listener". In Frederik's design, Bass sounds would be routed to the back of the neck, the mid-range near the shoulders and the treble across the collarbone.

Music collar for the hearing impaired: the expanding membraneMusic collar for the hearing impaired: the expanding membrane 

In his visualization, the device would also have MP3 and AM/FM radio capabilities, giving it the same functionality available to ear-focused technologies.

Studies into the sound experiences of the hearing impaired have led to the conclusion that while the notes cannot be heard, the tactile sensations produced by the resonance and beat of the music are felt in an entirely different way than those who listen in the "typical" manner.

Though the collar is still in the design stage, it has the possibility to act as a functional and technologically forward-thinking device to allow the same freedom of musical enjoyment to the deaf that sound-based users have regular access to.

 Plus, it just looks damn cool.

Source:  Coroflot

Jun 1, 2010
by Anonymous

I hate to break this to you...

but hearing impaired people can feel the beat of music through a lot of things... like the floor, the walls, a table or other piece of furniture in a room where there are speakers. These vibrations can all reverberate through our bodies by just touching them. When I stop next to a car with a blaster booming, I can feel its vibrations without being able to "hear" anything.

Jun 1, 2010
by Doug Bonderud

Good Point

Absolutely true. The aim of the article wasn't to imply that the hearing impaired couldn't feel the vibration, but that this device would theoretically allow a more immersive experience. I've updated the piece with your comment in mind. Thanks!

Jun 9, 2010
by Anonymous

I had one of these in the 70's

It was called the Bone Phone. I still have mine, and it works great. I hope a new patent wasn't issued for this old tech...