You can categorize this one somewhere between an incredibly cool, incredibly insensitive and an incredibly Canadian idea. We fully expect to get some hate from both Canadians and the hearing impaired on this one, but we couldn't help to notice the extreme irony of a proposed concert for the deaf that will take place on March 5 in a small club in Toronto.
As reported by The Guardian, Ryerson University's Centre of Learning Technology and the Science of Music, Auditory Research and Technology Lab have announced what they call the first-ever concert for the hearing impaired. Performances by Fox Jaws, Hollywood Swank, the Dufraines and others will showcase a set of Emoti-Chairs, devices that translate music into a series of tactile sensations.
Emoti-Chairs are the work of Ryerson University's Alternative Sensory Information Displays (ASID) project. A computer inside each chair analyses sound frequencies using a similar mapping to the human cochlea. These frequencies are then translated into mechanical responses – including motion, vibration, and blasts of air on the face.
Besides the Emoti-Chairs, the concert will also use open captioning, interpreters and music visualisation to complement the live music experience.
Of course, the March concert will not just be a test-bed for ASID's research -- it will also help determine whether you can judge music without hearing it. In that case, sign-us up! We have plenty of ideas for potential bands to play future installments of concerts you'd rather not hear. Trust us, for every great record we get, we get roughly 100 that makes us wish we were deaf (too much?).