In 2005 Product designer Shane Kerwin has created a device that allows deaf people to “feel” music with their fingertips through an audio speaker.
With Vibrato, a speaker is connected to five different finger pads. When music is played, it sends different vibrations to each of the finger pads, allowing the wearer to feel the difference between notes, rhythms and instrument combinations.
“Whilst our ears can distinguish different sounds coming from a speaker, our fingers and bodies need more help — when feeling the vibrations of a regular speaker, it’s impossible to distinguish the sound of each instrument,” explains Kerwin.
Vibrato also allows users to create their own music. By connecting the speaker to a computer, budding deaf composers and musicians can explore a whole variety of instruments, rhythms, pitches and volumes.