In September, the Bunkhouse Saloon in downtown Las Vegas held a private concert, which was attended by 200 music fans. The only reason it made news is because several of the fans were deaf. The private concert was actually a beta test for a new wearable tech that allows deaf and hearing users alike to experience musical vibrations through their skin for a true “surround body” experience. It was the first product collaboration between Avnet and Not Impossible Labs.
Music: Not Impossible (M:NI), as the tech is called, is the brainchild of former Hollywood producer turned entrepreneur Mick Ebeling, founder and CEO of Not Impossible Labs. Ebeling established his organization to address “absurdities” in the world, including the inability of the deaf to experience live music.
“Music: Not Impossible is the future of music, for deaf and hearing audiences alike,” said Ebeling. “Avnet was instrumental in getting every one of the finished Music: Not Impossible devices into the concert venue, where we celebrated a milestone in the history of our brand, and in the history of music as we know it. Avnet’s ongoing and unflinching support and expertise in product development and bringing products to market at scale enables us to continue focusing on creating innovative technology for the sake of humanity.”
How M:NI Works?
M:NI is a wireless wearable system that creates zero-latency vibrations, in perfect synchronization with the music. The system consists of two battery-powered wristbands, two ankle bands, and a harness that fits across the back and shoulders. Concertgoers wear a lightweight vest, with wrist and ankle bands, that created an immersive sensory experience through musical vibrations on the skin.
Wearers may adjust the vibration levels, which are visually represented via colorful LED lights. During the live concert, artists may emphasize different elements of the music, so each live experience is mixed uniquely for the individual.
The Las Vegas show was presented by Zappos Adaptive and the Church of Rock & Roll.
“This is the first of several new innovations that we are excited to help Not Impossible Labs bring to life,” said Avnet CEO, Bill Amelio. “It was life-changing and exhilarating to see folks from the deaf community enjoying live music, but making this experience happen was a complex problem to solve. Leveraging our strong understanding of technology, design, production and manufacturing, we worked closely with Not Impossible to guide the process and ensure our collaboration would bring this technology to everyone. And this is only the beginning. We’re now working with Not Impossible on additional Vibrotextile™ products, extending beyond entertainment to therapy, communication and safety that will improve the lives of many.”
Daniel Belquer, director of technology for Not Impossible Labs said: “We’re not trying to replace music. “We’re trying to provide an experience that relates to music. It’s less a new technology and more a new form of expression that, instead of going through the ears, goes through the skin. When you feel it, you understand it.”