Oleh: akubisadengar | Maret 24, 2009

Emoti-Chair membawa Musik Kepada Para tuna Rungu

Para Peneliti di Universitas Ryerson Centre of Learning, bekerjasama dengan laboratorium Ilmu pengetahuan Musik, Penelitian Auditory dan Teknologi Toronto telah membangun alat yang bisa membantu saudara kita penderita tuna rungu untuk bisa mendengarkam musik…

Disebut dengan Emoti-Chair, Kursi ini dipenuhi dengan speaker, motor, dan pipa yang menembakkan udara, semuanya dengan tujuan untuk mentranslasikan musik menjadi sensasi fisik yang dapat dialami dan dimengerti oleh penderita tuna rungu. Kursi ini juga akan disandingkan dengan visualisasi tradisional saat pertama kali digunakan untuk konser pertama penderita tuna rungu pada tanggal 5 maret nanti di Toronto.


Project leader Deborah Fels sits in the “emoti-chair” while Carmen Branje plays drums and Maria Karam plays keyboard. The music is translated into full-body vibrations which the chair’s occupant feels.

Berita lengkapnya dalam bahasa inggris:

Emoti-chair’ delivers good vibrations to deaf

Ryerson project turns musical frequencies into tactile sensations

For Ellen Hibbard music has never really meant very much. Deaf from birth, she would only be able to experience a tune by placing her hands on a flat wooden surface near the stereo or radio, or directly on the amplifier.

But now that’s all changed. And for the first time she has an understanding of why people love music – be it rock and roll, jazz or classical.

Hibbard has tested an experimental “emoti-chair,” which with the help of a computer translates music into a series of tactile sensations, including rocking and vibrating. Think of it as a kind of full-body vibrator triggered by the frequency of individual notes in a musical composition or even random sounds.

From the very first time Hibbard sat in the chair she was overwhelmed by the sensations and vibrations her body felt.

“I grew up in an environment of hearing people who had a relationship with sound and emotions that I never fully could understand because I could not experience it first-hand,” she said.

But the chair has revealed a whole new world to her. It was like “feeling the emotions (of the music) dance across my skin,” said the 35-year-old PhD student who is in the communications and culture program at Ryerson University and is doing research of her own in the lab where the chair was designed.

“I never really thought about `bad’ and `good’ feelings with vibrations,” she wrote in an email interview. “This experience has helped me to understand why hearing people have strong feelings when they listen to music. I never could really get it before. Now, I do.

“When I’m sitting in the chair and the chair is producing distinct vibrations for different components of music, I feel like I’m getting more information about music than I could just by my sense of touch alone. When the vibrations are fast-paced and irregular, it makes me feel anxious but when the vibrations are strong, even and slow, it makes me feel relaxed and think of my own heart beating.”

Conceived and designed by a team at Ryerson University’s Centre for Learning Technologies and a Canada Council artist, the “emoti-chair” is just in the experimental stage, but its developers hope that it will have practical applications – perhaps one day being used at the movies or rock concerts.

A version of the chair will be part of an exhibition in the Ideas Gallery at the Ontario Science Centre beginning this September.

The leader of the project, Deborah Fels, a Ryerson University associate professor and a human factors engineer, has spent much of her career studying ways technology can help the sick or disabled. The chair is an offshoot of her work with the deaf, which includes the study of closed-captioning.

Her lab is also working on a number of other projects including a website for video description of television for the blind as well as sign language software to design web pages without text for the deaf.

She and her team – made up of two masters students, a couple of research assistants, a post-doctoral student, a psychology professor and a Canada Council artist based in Holland – have developed and tested the chair over 18 months. Funding comes in the form of a three-year, $500,000 grant from a combined program with the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Canada Council.

The idea for the chair came out of Fels’s work with closed-captioning. She noticed there really wasn’t a way to convey the musical information contained in movies or television shows. That music usually has an important emotional purpose that sets the mood, she explained.

“If you don’t have access to that it means you’re missing something.” So Fels and her team set out to design something to allow the deaf to feel this missing element.

The way the human cochlea interprets the frequencies of sound has been mapped out on the back of the chair, said Maria Karam, a post-doctoral student on the project.

But instead of hearing the sound, the frequencies are translated by a computer into a physical response like a vibration or rocking or a blast of air on your face.

And it’s not just the deaf who are interested in the chair, but also musicians. Toronto techno artist Stéphane Vera has been composing tracks for the chair, said Fels.

“He is envisioning a concert with a series of these chairs.” He would compose specifically for vibrations. “It’s a whole new way of thinking of about composition.”


Ryerson profs develop Emoti-Chair: Allows deaf to feel vibrations of music and sound

Director of the Centre for Learning Technologies and Associate Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management, Deborah Fels experiences the Emoti-Chair’s musical translation of Carmen Branje playing drums and Maria Karam playing keyboard. The chair was developed by Dr. Fels’ and her associates for deaf or hard of hearing people. Photo credit: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star.

Imagine never being able to hear music clearly your entire life. Now imagine changing all that by simply sitting in a chair. The Emoti-Chair is a cross-modal, audio-tactile display chair that allows deaf or hard of hearing people to feel the vibrations of music and sound. Created by two Ryerson professors and their associates, the Emoti-Chair is currently on display until Jan. 15, 2009 at the Ontario Science Centre as part of the special exhibition, On Thin Ice: Youth Respond to International Polar Year.

The Emoti-Chair is an interdisciplinary project developed by Deborah Fels, Director of the Centre for Learning Technologies (CLT) and Associate Professor at the Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management; Frank Russo, Director of the Science of Music, Auditory Research and Technology (SMART) lab and Assistant Professor in Ryerson’s Department of Psychology; Ted Rogers School of Management postdoctoral fellow Maria Karam; and Dr. Fels’ associate, independent artist, Graham Smith. The chair is part of Ryerson’s Alternative Sensory Information Display (ASID), a project geared towards exploring alternative methods for presenting sensory information to users who are deaf or hard of hearing.

“It’s amazing to see what happens when people from many different disciplines work together to create something so fantastic,” President Levy said. “The Emoti-Chair is a great example of Ryerson’s interdisciplinary and innovative research coming to life.”

“Cutting-edge research and practical results are what puts Ryerson ahead of the pack,” said Anastasios Venetsanopoulos, Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “Our research momentum continues to build, placing Ryerson at the forefront of groundbreaking ventures.”

Aided by a computer, the tactile display on the chair translates music and sound into movement. Whether it be rocking or vibrations, the music can be heard through the movement of the chair, expressing to the person sitting, the emotion heard in sound.

“We had been working on multimodal access to entertainment for people with disabilities for the past five years but had focused on visualization techniques. We wanted to explore alternative media, specifically vibration,” Dr. Fels said. “At the moment, the chairs are early prototypes. To commercialize these chairs, they must undergo a re-engineering process to make them robust, reliable, and easily and cheaply manufactured.”

Dr. Karam developed the ideas in the original proposal, developing and evaluating the theoretical model that is being used to drive the design of the chair. Dr. Russo and his students at the SMART lab are extensively involved in designing and carrying out various evaluations to build the theoretical and human-computer interaction models.

“We are testing the hypothesis that emotional aspects of music can be ‘translated’ across modalities. The collaboration with Dr. Fels and the CLT provides an exciting vehicle for seeing the theory and findings through in the chair,” Dr. Russo said.

Ellen Hibbard, a PhD candidate in Ryerson’s Communications and Culture program who researches at the CLT, said the chair helps deaf people understand why other people are emotionally moved by music, both on its own and in film and television.

“The first time I used the chair, I was blown away by the amount of information I could get about music from the vibrations,” Hibbard said. “For the first time in my life, I could feel sad or happy because of how the music vibrations felt on my skin. I never felt those kinds of feelings before when music was played. It was how the chair ‘played’ the music that enabled me to have a shared experience with people who are emotionally moved by listening to music.”



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