Too Cool To Miss

The 5/18/2016 edition of published an article by David Meyer that highlights a new piece of wearable technology designed to provide deaf people with a way to experience a live orchestra concert.

The Sound Shirt, designed by Cute Circuit for Junge Symphoniker Hamburg, is exactly what it sounds like; a shirt that converts sound into vibrations via actuators integrated into the garment. The transmission happens in real time so there’s no loss between the energy shared between audience and performers.

And yes, it looks as cool as it sounds.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

Related Posts

2 thoughts on “Too Cool To Miss”

  1. It’s funny, my immediate thought when the woman touches the guy’s arm at :53 and he reacts was that he was saying “hey, can you be quiet, I am trying to listen to the concert.”

    Since the mics are on stage, I would guess someone wearing the shirt wouldn’t have the general experience of being disturbed by other audience members speaking or opening wrapped candy, but I wonder if they would end up experiencing errant noise that orchestra members make that don’t carry from the stage – shifting in chairs, the percussionist moving objects around etc.

    Either there would have to be really good onstage discipline or the mics would have to be calibrated really well so as not to pick up on any of that, but still transmit the quieter moments of a piece.

  2. That’s a fascinating thought and I would assume it would convey anything the mics pickup. If nothing else, it’s another good way to demonstrate just how hard stage crews work!

    Here in Chicago, the Grant Park Music Festival already mics all of the musicians via their amplified support system. That seems like a good fit for using something like this since they have what would otherwise be the most costly and time consuming element to add.

Leave a Comment