Image source: Not Impossible Labs

Wearable vest lets concert-goers feel music through vibration

Not Impossible Labs has launched a new type of technology that delivers sound through musical vibrations on the skin. This essentially allows users to feel the nuances of a song.

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Originally inspired by deaf music fans, the strangely named “Music: Not Impossible (M:NI)” was created in collaboration with global technology solutions provider Avnet. The technology comes in the form of a wearable vest that, regardless of the users hearing, delivers a complete surround body experience.

“The reality is that you don’t hear with your ears; you hear with your brain,” said Mick Ebeling, Not Impossible Labs’ founder & CEO.

“We’ve developed a way to get music to the brain by bypassing the ears, and focusing on the skin.”

The technology made its debut at a live concert a few days ago for 200 music fans at the Life is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas. The audience for the test consisted of both members of the deaf community and hearing music fans.

Wearable vest lets concert-goers feel music through vibration
Image source: Not Impossible Labs

The “Vibrotextile” vest consists of two wrist and ankle bands and a chest wearable that vibrate in sync with the music. Rather than all pulsing at the same time, the individual elements are designed to create different sensations across the body.

Wearable vest lets concert-goers feel music through vibration
Image source: Not Impossible Labs

This provides interesting opportunities for artists giving them means to emphasize different elements of a song. Each part of the vest can even be set to represent a different musical instrument. Users, on the other hand, can adjust the intensity level of vibrations.

“As with movies or gaming, vibrotactile design will likely become its own sophisticated area of focus,” predicts Daniel Belquer, Not Impossible’s director of technology.

“The skin being the largest organ in the body, it has been overlooked as a medium for artistic expression so far, but not anymore. We’ve created a highly customizable platform to deliver sensory stimulation that has the potential to unleash a whole new natural canvas only limited by our imagination.”

Unfortunately it might be a bit of a wait before the vest makes it to your home. The challenge for researchers now is minimizing the vibrotactile design for the mass market. Its very likely the novel technology may also find use in therapy, communication and safety.

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