Technology always has an interesting twist when it comes with helping people with disabilities. From developing hearing aids to cochlear implants to video phones to using FaceTime and Glide, it’s always found a way to help make people lives better. Communication is at an all-time high. We are communicating with others more faster, more efficient than before especially at light speed all over the world.
Yet, the gap is still widening especially when it comes to getting people to enjoy music at the same level as hearing people. This has been an ongoing issue for a very long time and we still continue to struggle with closing the gap with music for people who are deaf. Recently, D-PAN partnered with AT&T to help bridge that gap by initiating a social project called, “Feel The Music”. They believe that this social project will help bridge that gap by getting musicians, artists and fans to come together to collaborate together to celebrate their experiences and love of music regardless of being hearing, deaf or hard of hearing.
Now, there’s even more exciting technology that will bridge that gap even more, especially for children. There is a new fundraising effort called, Helping the Deaf Experience Sound, in which, their hope is to recreate the music experience by using the senses especially through tactile and visual means. A start-up organization called FeelHarmonic, which is backed-up the Echo Society (is a Los Angeles-based collective of like-minded composers, musicians, and artists who gather to inspire and enrich the community.) and led by uprising artist called ESKMO whose real name is Brandon Angelides. Lately, he has been designing custom sounds for film composers Joe Trapanese (Tron, Insurgent) and Rob Simonsen (Foxcatcher, The Way Way Back).
Brandon Angelides wrote about his experience sharing this new technology with children from the Lafayette Elementary in San Diego,
The first presentation we did in San Diego at the Lafayette Elementary in 2015 school left me speechless and so genuinely touched. I am committed to collaborating with creatives in all fields to develop content for FeelHarmonic and to bring this hands-on experience to more communities.
I reached out to SubPac who have created a Tactile Bass system that allows people to feel the physical dimension of sound, and asked them to be a part. They are involved with other deaf projects like Maria Batile’s Muse Seek project and FeelHarmonic fit perfectly into some of the work they are doing. They have been tremendous in their generosity and are currently helping us by providing packs for the events and outreach.
FeelHarmonic next goal is to host another concert during Christmas of 2015 where they are looking to fundraise $3,000. On their GoFundMe page, they wrote that they want to bring their program to schools and agencies that will aid the hard of hearing/deaf at no cost. This is what your money will help them with:
Your funds will specifically go toward:
1) maintaining a website and e-mail addresses for our few volunteers
2) purchasing our own vibro-tactile equipment (Subpacs, Emoti-Chairs, etc). Right now, we only have a few pieces “on loan” because they are so costly. This is by far our biggest expense, and the most important! These vibro-tactile pieces of equipment enable the children to physically feel the music through vibratory patterns.
3) printing business cards so that we can distribute our information at outreach events
4) purchasing our own projector and screen for presentations. We often times have to use the schools, if available.
What is amazing is that these technologies will help bridge that gap between music and those who are deaf. It is always heart-warming when you see that technology that is used for the first time to be able to light that child eyes up as if they’re seeing a whole new world for the first time. If we can get as close as sound as possible, then we must be open to seeing, feeling and sensing music in a whole different limelight. Thus, we highly recommend you to check out FeelHarmonic and find out more about what they’re all about.