the sound shirt lets deaf people feel music on their skin

the sound shirt lets deaf people feel music on their skin

the soundshirt is a haptic wearable device that allows deaf users to feel music on their skin. designed by fashion tech company cute circuit, the sound shirt brings music to life using a series of haptic sensors that are built into the material.


the soundshirt features 30 micro-actuators embedded in the fabric of the garment. these sensors translate the sound in real-time, into a tactile language that is unique to each piece of music being performed.

the sound shirt lets deaf people feel music on their skin

images courtesy of cute circuit



‘in this way the violins can be felt on the arms and the drums on the back creating a fully immersive feeling for a deaf audience member,’ explains cute circuit. ‘essentially the entire composition comes to life as a language composed of a series of haptic (touch-like) sensations across the torso of the person wearing the shirt.’


in order to provide a comfortable experience for the wearer, the sound shirt is created using specifically developed smart and stretchy textiles. there is no need for wires and instead, all of the conductive pathways within the garment are composed of woven conductive textiles that are seamlessly integrated into the garment.

the sound shirt lets deaf people feel music on their skin



the sound shirt derives from the award-winning hugshirt, the world’s first haptic telecommunication wearable invented by cutecircuit in 2002. the exterior decorative elements in the first prototype were precision laser cut appliqués, and in the recent iterations, this decorative element was replaced with high-resolution digital fabric printing to create the striking design.


the visual design is a metaphor for the relationship between vibrations and sound waves modulating in different frequencies. the connecting lines also serve as a tacit diagram of the underlying data network of stretchable micro-electronic circuitry.

the sound shirt lets deaf people feel music on their skin



the shirt sells for upwards of £3,000 GBP (approximately 3,387 EUR and 3,712 USD) and is currently available in a selection of package deals for museums and orchestras. each package comes with a Q antenna which enables sound broadcast, 8 microphones, a mac or PC with pre-installed software, an audio converter and 1 sound shirt 2.0.


these packages range from £9,500 and £11,000 respectively. a consumer version of the shirt is available to pre-order from the cute circuit website.

the sound shirt lets deaf people feel music on their skin



cute circuit is a fashion company based in london that was founded in 2004 by francesca rosella and ryan genz. the company specialises creating electronic wearables and has developed a prêt-à-porter collection that includes pieces made of laser-cut reflective materials, 3D digital print and smart textiles.


the company has won awards for its designs, such as the hugshirt and the galaxy dress — the world’s largest wearable led display, which features 24,000 full color LEDs. it has also designed clothes for notable celebrities including american singers nicole scherzinger and katy perry.


project info:


company: cute circuit

name: soundshirt

price: £3,000 GBP – £11,000

  • Aren’t those actuators the exact opposite of sensors? i.e. they create vibrations instead of sense them

    citamrac says:
  • Amazing ! What a wonderful surprise to see, a truly thoughtful invention! May I ask what is the price in the US ?
    Many thanks

    Vicki Fraser says:
  • What an innovative idea! As for myself, I am not deaf, but would like to experience the sensation of hearing the music and feeling it.

    joni says:
  • This is absolutely incredible. I had no idea that something even similar existed. With progressive hearing loss at 45 and learning over the past 6 years how increasingly worse my hearing has gotten and that I will potential completely lose it all together over the next few years I have had to decide to use my hearing somehow for a purpose I would have never have thought of to keep from getting depressed about it and to quit crying over what I may no longer hear. I love music, love to hear a baby cry or my husband to whisper I love you and these are the things I am loosing and have no control over !!! I have decided I need to learn sign language of course and will begin that here in the very near future because even though I am learning what things sound like again that I have not heard in many years ; things we take for granted and don’t even notice because they are part of everyday living I simply can not express enough to others how much Joy it brings to hear things those with exceptional hearing do not even notice exists any more.
    But oh my word!!! Music is so expressive and helps people over come many things so I find this intriguing because I can hear the music (May not get the notes right according to how high or low or what rhythms I may miss but to be able to use something like this while I can still hear and put the right words or describe with the right words what it is you are feeling through out a concert or just listening to ur favorite songs at home so that someone can better relate with their friends who can hear creates a moving experience.
    Imagine this person sitting in a concert listening to someones song they have fell in love with the words to that can tell you how the words make them feel but have never heard the rhythm of someone picking a guitar, or the beat of the drums, just imagine the excitement they would feel if they heard the symbols going off and the organs vibes for the first time at how life changing it can be. When I learn to sign what I am feeling with all the right emotions to someone beside me that can not hear but only read caption and sign language with so much depth that when they wear something like this shirt that the depths of my words can have real meaning to someone who has no clue how to explain what they are feeling For the first time.
    Yes, song writers bring short stories to life on paper with words that can make us feel emotional wether it is sad, happy, Joyful, excited ect but to be able to add a beat, rhythm, and timing to those words will be an undescribable event for the deaf to the person who has always and can still hear the music!!! It will be so moving that I’m sure some couldn’t and wouldn’t be able to find enough words to describe their feelings. This is music to my ears!! I hope I can get a hold of something like this in the near future while I can still hear to use while hearing so I can try to teach those who do not have the words to put with the feelings of those the vibrations they can now put with the story or words they love that a song writer has written and for me to understand how those who can not hear are possibly actually perceiving the vibrations because it could only help to improve communication between the deaf and those that can hear as well as bring them closer to one another as music does for most everyone who loves it!!!
    You go designboom!!!!

    Forever great full to those who have created this and that continue to improve its purpose. The Style or look will never be as important as the feeling you are giving others who are able to obtain this.
    Most Certainly excited Mrs. Charlotte Willard
    108 Cemetery rd
    Spartanburg SC 29307
    1 864 431 1273

    Charlotte Willard says:
  • I run an Autism Support Group online and a question about this came up. Has the company who designed it, looked into it’s use as an assistance for Sensory Processing Disorders? Many people with ASD love compression clothing for sensory and anxiety issues. We wonder if this sound shirt can also help with sensory seeking with benefits similar to that of “deep pressure” provided by compression clothing?

    Mary Josephine McCreery says:
  • I wish I could order a box of these in various sizes for hearing impaired people attending my DJ gigs! They sound fantastic, but the cost is outrageous. Hopefully this will improve over time?

    Stuart Chisholm says:
  • Ironic … Sound would not play… Unfortunate … would have been nice to hear what sounds made the shirt react in a unique way. Or was that the point..?

    Geoff says:
  • Although this is a wonderful idea, was this invented by a hearing or Deaf person? Furthermore, this does not appear so “accessible “ when you see the prices ranging within the thousands. Just a thought.

    Anonymous says:
  • I have a friend and church sister who is deaf, she sits in the sanctuary and reads the service notes but when I saw this I thought right away how wonderful it would be for her to experience this. Wish what it would cost for one for personal use. Id approach my church family to see if we coud raise the money to get this for her. Your response would be appreciated.

    centula abrams says:
  • I’m just one person but i’m not gonna just walk away without bringing a few things to light so that they CAN be improved. Macs are obsolete out of the box. No pc support? No open source? A PLANET of producers and MUSICIANS, yet, no software? An encoder i understand. But i also understand how those work and could prrrobably calculate that there are only four sensors just from the term encoder being used in the package. Now, if you strip an mp3 down, banging on a trashcan might sound better than the stripped mp3. And i’m not saying this to discredit this product one single bit. Just keep in mind that you have producers out here working on music for the hearing impaired that form works in ALL spectrums. When you go from any master file type to mp3 it leaves a huge gap. Which brings us to output. I’m not saying it has never been considered or addressed. Music for the hearing impaired should not be a niche genre if you choose to put labels on music. Platforms don’t even have an option yet for H.I. Fi :). But can you listen to Aphex Twin on these things and get tatted up like Bonnie and Clyde? That’s what i really wanna know. To people considering this product, support what you love because these developers are NOT in the wrong. It should be a common thing already. WAY more common. I think folks in nursing homes would dig it coupled with a library of full spectrum files. Any youtube hands on reviews yet?
    Let’s go look for clues cause in the end we’re all gonna want one of these.

    Jason Settle says:
  • Love the tech, all of it. Problem? Doesn’t cost anyone thousands of dollars to hear music. Why would it cost us an arm and a leg, having no arm we could not communicate. Har har har. Point, price is ridiculous. Can be made affordable. Keep going! Soon it will be on the rack for $19.99

    Robert A says:
  • Hey Connor check this out!!!!

    Connor says:
  • Jason – get what you’re saying re Mac being obsolete (too many geniuses—-fools drank their own koolaid). Just the same it’s still a more stable platform and is used by hospitals for life support, where glitchey glitches can’t be tolerated until the next patch comes out. An old flamer once wrote: “If Bill Gates had a nichol for every time windows crashed he’d be a billionaire.”

    Sam A says:

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