Technical University of Denmark: Music can be experienced – despite poor hearing

Every month during 2022, it will be possible to feel live music at the Musée d’art et d’histoire (Museum of Art and History) in Geneva. If you manage to grab a tactile chair, that is. The chairs can transmit the vibrations of the music, and the purpose is that hearing-impaired people are also to enjoy live music.

The tactile chairs are a result of a collaboration between Associate Professor Jeremy Marozeau from DTU’s hearing research environment and two Swiss artists. In the project entitled Augmented Music, in 2020 they created a vibrating podium on which you can lie and feel the music.

The presentation of the podiums in Geneva was such a success that Jeremy Marozeau proceeded with the development of new solutions that can give deaf and hearing-impaired people access to music experiences. The work has resulted in two prototypes of tactile chairs, which he has developed together with three MSc students from DTU.

The first prototype is designed to transfer low and middle frequencies to different body areas.

In the second prototype, the vibrations are disconnected from the structure that supports the body. Instead, they are transmitted via rods placed around the sitting person. The design is inspired by a structure in the inner ear called the basilar membrane, which plays an important role in the transfer of sound impulses to the nerves.

The live concerts in Geneva will generate feedback from users of the tactile chairs, and this input will be used in the further development of three new prototypes during 2022.