Deaf festivalgoers able to 'feel the music' due to futuristic suits

Festivalgoers enjoying a set at Mighty Hoopla with the help of the new suit. Credit: SWNS

People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing have been given the ability to "feel the music" at festivals and concerts thanks to a new futuristic suit.

The harnesses which fasten at the wrists, ankles and torso are designed to vibrate in time with the beat - avoiding the need to get up close to stage speakers.

Developed by Vodafone, the new gadget captures sound and transmits sensation to the wearer, with the hopes of bringing them closer to both the artists performance and the crowd experience.

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The suits were debuted at Mighty Hoopla Festival in Brockwell Park last weekend.

Festival goer Kyle Springate, 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."

Kyle Springate, using the new haptic suit last weekend. Credit: SWNS

Vodafone partnered with Music Not Impossible to develop the suits, combining their haptic technology with low latency 5G network.

Alysha Allen, who made use of the suit at the festival, added: "It was just amazing. Getting to wear the suits with all my friends – it was sensory overload, it was incredible.

"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."

Kyle Springate being fitted into the haptic suit. Credit: SWNS

Max Taylor, Vodafone consumer director, said: "Festivals are such a huge part of the British summer, so we’re delighted that we’re able to use the power our 5G network to make sure these experiences are as accessible by as many people as possible, so everyone can enjoy them to their fullest."

Singer Jessie Ware added: “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."