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Special technology helps deaf concert audience feel the music
Peruvian musician Lucho Quequenzana’s show at the Kultrun World Music Festival was a concert unlike many others.
The audience, made up largerly of deaf and partially deaf people, was able to enjoy the performance thanks to special vibration technology.
“People say the concert for a deaf audience is not possible, but it is,” said Quequenzana. “The way they understand music is different.
“When the deaf audience understands that structure, they say ‘yes, yes, yes.’ This is not the loud frequency of the truck in the street.”
David Bobier is the founder and owner of Vibro-Fusion Labs. He says any audio track can be fed through his technology to allow people to feel the music.
The vibrotactile technology includes a spcially designed floor with transducers that allow audience members to feel vibrations though thier feet. Another piece resembles a pillow equipped with a transducer and is held close to the chest.
“The common thought is that deaf people aren’t interested in music, but my understanding is that’s not true,” he said. “We can bring that experience to them. That’s what my motivation is.”
Bobier says he was inspired by his two sons who are also deaf.
"So it became very much a standard for me to try to experience or try to understand the deaf experience," said Bobier.
A grandmother in attendance says it was “extremely emotional” to see her deaf grandson enjoy the show.
“It’s the first time for me and I think it’s changed my life,” said Quequenzana. “Music really is that universal language and place for everyone.”
The director of Kultrun says the concert was one of the first of its kind in Canada. They add that they hope to make it a regular feature.