Testing Out SoundShirt at the World Economic Forum


The music touched me. REALLY! It touched me. I tested out a SoundShirt by the tech/fashion designers at CuteCircuit at the World Economic Forum.

This stretchy performance wear shirt was woven with tiny sensors and micro-actuators infused into the fabric. How? I have no idea. Why? To give people who are deaf and hard-of-hearing vibrations to enjoy the feeling of music at concerts and symphony performances.

The 16 sensors are linked to the individual sections of the orchestra, sending various vibration intensities - corresponding with the music - to different parts of the shirt.


I asked the designer if they had considered this technology for use in movie theaters. He hadn’t thought of this application before, and as they are exploring a wider marketplace for the shirts, this is something they’d be willing to consider. Yay!

Even though we have volume boosting headsets, closed caption glasses, and closed caption screens, I think of the NEXT LEVEL this technology could bring to all moviegoing audiences. Imagine wearing this shirt while watching Jaws. DUUNNN DUNNN… DUUUUNNNN DUUN… DUUUNNNNNNNN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNN DUNNNN. Ahhhh! You can feel it, can’t you! 


We are at an exciting point in technological times. As parts get smarter, smaller, and more affordable, emerging technologies are becoming more accessible and adaptable. This CuteCircut shirt is a good example of how fashion and function can be woven together to unite people through the cultural, educational, and social connectedness of community experiences like concerts, orchestras, and (hopefully) moviegoing. People with and without disabilities benefit from these technologies and accessible-design thinking. 


I can’t stop thinking about wearing that shirt to Jaws. What movie would you want to see while wearing a smart-haptic-wearable shirt?