HealthLife StyleTech

How Technology is Helping Deaf People Enjoy Music? | A Closer Look at the Latest Innovation

Story Highlights
  • What Does it Do?
  • How Does it Do it?
  • Emotional Response

Electronics for Instrumentation and Systems, an R&D team, have teamed up with the University of Malaga’s Department of Electronics to develop a ground-breaking prototype that will allow music to be listened to by touch.

This technology will be revolutionary, especially when it comes to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who are unable to enjoy music.

What Does it Do?

The prototype comprises an audio-tactile algorithm that uses “tactile illusions” to convert monophonic music into vibration-based tactile stimuli. It’s like “hacking” the nervous system to have a different reaction to the real stimuli that are being received, according to the researchers. The main author of this research paper, Paul Remache, asserts that “what we want to achieve over the long term is for individuals unable to ‘listen’ to music due to hearing impairment.” Remache emphasizes the ability of music to affect mood and its potential as a therapy for psychological illnesses and pain treatment.

Since this device will be easily transferred to everyday tools like phones, this could create a portable interface that can even be transported to concerts.

How Does it Do it?

The researchers created an algorithm that can convert elements of music and structures extracted from MIDI files (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) into “vibrotactile stimuli” in collaboration with professors Trujillo and Vidal from the UMA (University of Malaga). Remache explains, “It’s like music mapping,” and this is possible since this type of file can be played to produce sound and “symbolic representations.”

Current models do not support the correlation between an emotional reaction to music and its vibrotactile representation. In light of this, these engineers propose organizing the “tactile illusions” in a way that gives the vibrations movement, changes in direction, and spatial adjustments, enhancing and broadening musical components’ diversity.

They say, “It is a difficult procedure since the skin’s detectable frequency range is smaller than that of the human ear, which may result in the loss of certain musical qualities.

Emotional Response

The arrangement of “tactile illusions” appears to trigger more positive than negative feelings, according to the findings of the initial trials, which involved more than fifty participants. They elicit a distinct emotional reaction from the original song since they are considered more pleasing and exciting than the audio.

Back to top button