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Published on Apr 21, 2010
A team of NUS researchers developed a system consisting of a vibrating Haptic Chair and an integrated computer display that could be used to enhance musical experiences for the hearing-impaired. The Haptic Chair amplifies perception of sound by increasing environmental vibrations produced by music which are then perceived via our sense of touch. A synchronised visual interpretation of important features of the music helps to increase overall enjoyment and a sense of involvement.
A series of rigorous user studies done in Sri Lanka strongly suggested that the system is capable of significantly improving the experience of listening to music by the hearing-impaired community.
One of the comments received from a profoundly deaf user when the Haptic Chair was brought back to Singapore, I am going to be deaf again, poignantly expressed the impact it made on individual users.
The research team is currently studying the potential of the system to be an aid for speech therapy and to provide a sense of the general acoustic environment for the hearing-impaired. The main body of this work has been published in CHI09, Boston, USA.
Haptic Chair team Dr Elizabeth Taylor, Head of the Marine Mammal Research Laboratory at the Tropical Marine Science Institute, came up with the initial concept and the project started as a doctoral research topic for NUS Research Scholar, Mr Suranga Nanayakkara. Associate Professor Lonce Wyse, Head of the Arts and Creativity Laboratory, Interactive & Digital Media Institute, and Associate Professor Ong Sim Heng, Dept of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Division of Bioengineering, are co-leading the project.