This month we invited SoundX to come and visit Mary Hare School to trial a new peice of technology that may help some of our students to engage with sound and music.
SoundX is a research and innovation company, dedicated to the development of inclusive sound technological solutions. Their flagship project is an ecosystem combining artificial intelligence with vibration backpacks that enable deaf people to feel music. Using AI, the technology is able to translate real time sound into vibrations and the packs have been designed for and calibrated by the deaf community. The aim of this piece of equipment is to allow the user to experience and feel the melody, rhythm, and the emotional aspect of sound.
Their visit to Mary Hare School was arranged as part of our continuing exploration for creative solutions for deaf young people to access the performing arts. We used the vibration backpacks within our students' normal timetabled music lesson to see how how the equipment works and how they might be able to access a wider range of sound using the support of this new technology. This included their first try at playing the saxophone, of which many of the students really enjoyed! This technology is also said to be able to support students in finding their voice in Speech and Language Therapy sessions.
Students at Mary Hare are able to enjoy access to a full curriculum, including music, without being removed from lessons to access any additional support they might need. This means they can also get involved in many aspects within the performing arts, including our Christmas production, and so there are students who already learn a musical instrument. This trial of the technology was a great opportunity to explore how it might unlock some potential, as well as interest for some of the students who perhaps may have previously thought playing an instrument wasn’t a possibility for them.
Overall, we all had some good fun trying out the packs and the students enjoyed experimenting with how they work with across different sounds and music, and even tried them out whilst listening to their own compositions!