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Jam & Create

From Finger-Tinglers to Bass Shakers – Vibrotactile Haptics for feeling sound

Touring drummers using MIDI kits occasionally make use of a gadget called a ‘butt-kicker’, which attaches to the drum stool and synthetically delivers the low-frequency ‘whomp’ of a live kick directly to the musician’s body.

But if a Butt-Kicker can be used to replicate a missing physical effect, might it be possible to create instruments that create completely new sensations? This is the question posed by the work of researcher and instrument-builder Lauren Hayes, who creates Vibrotactile Haptic devices that deliver physical sensations to the human body in response to musical parameters. In her workshop, Hayes demonstrates a number of her devices, and offers you the chance to try her bass-shakers and finger-tinglers out with your own musical creations.