MUSICIANS with hearing impairments could soon benefit from an enhanced musical experience, thanks to a device developed by an Edinburgh Napier product design student.
As part of his Edinburgh Napier Degree Show exhibit, Daniel Pilley of Langholm has designed a device which allows hard-of-hearing musicians to feel the vibrations of certain instruments.
His prototype could be built into the body of a guitar amp and allow the player to stand on top of the device to feel the music alongside hearing it.
It will give sound a physical body and improve the overall musical experience for musicians with hearing difficulties.
The device’s spherical shape resembles an upside-down speaker and helps transfer vibrations from the amp to the player’s feet.
Many musicians with hearing impairments play barefoot so they can feel the vibrations of their instruments but the device will build on that even more by helping the sound travel through the player’s body, helping them understand and ‘feel’ the music more than previously.
Daniel, 22, has been a musician himself since picking up the bass trombone in primary school. He still plays with Langholm Town Band occasionally.
His project has been influenced by many years of being surrounded by instruments which create strong vibrations alongside their sound.
The idea to create the device was sparked on an Erasmus exchange in Oslo, Norway, after listening to a song and being saddened at the thought that not everyone in the world had the option to enjoy it.
Daniel has now, through the support of Edinburgh Napier’s Bright Red Triangle entrepreneurial hub, taken the first tentative steps in creating his own business to develop the device further as his dream of making the sound market more inclusive gets closer.
He said: “I’m a musician myself and for my final year project I wanted to design something with a purpose and could potentially benefit others experiencing a certain problem.
“Since playing bass trombone and percussion in bands through my primary and secondary school years, I’ve always been surrounded by instruments which have vibration as an integral part. This project has been influenced by this.
“It’s been a journey to get to this stage with the device. I’ve been thinking intently about where sound can travel to and where it can go.
“I tried prototyping mouthpieces and headpieces as I attempted to develop something which could potentially benefit musicians with hearing impairments.
“I think I’m there now with this specific device but I really need guidance and help from sound and acoustic experts to help take it to the next level.
“It’s by no means a finished product but it is an idea I’m excited about and keen to take forward.
“All through this project I’ve wanted to push the sound market in a direction which is more inclusive.
“I want to give people at least the option to enjoy music again, something they might have thought had previously been out of their reach.”