A hearing impaired device for musicians will star at Edinburgh Napier’s Degree Show


An Edinburgh Napier student has designed a unique device that can allow hearing impaired musicians feel the vibrations of certain instruments.

22-year-old product design student Daniel Piley has developed a device that can improve the musical experience of musicians with hearing impairments.

Daniel’s prototype is aimed to give sound a ‘physical body’ as a musician is able to stand on the device and feel vibrations of their music travel through their body.

The device could be built into a guitar AMP and its spherical shape will allow the sound to transfer from the AMP to the musician’s feet.

Daniel from Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway – has been a musician himself since picking up the bass trombone in primary school.

His project has been influenced by many years of being surrounded by instruments that create strong vibrations alongside their sound.

Daniel will display his device at this years Edinburgh Napier Degree Show

The idea to create the device was sparked on an Erasmus exchange in Oslo, Norway, last year after listening to a song and being saddened at the thought that not everyone in the world had the option to enjoy it.

Daniel has now – through the support of Edinburgh Napier’s Bright Red Triangle entrepreneurial hub – taken the first tentative steps in creating his own business to develop the device further as his dream of making the sound market more inclusive gets ever closer.

He said: “First and foremost, I’m a musician myself and for my final year project, I really wanted to design something with a purpose that could potentially benefit many others experiencing a certain problem or issue.

“Since playing bass trombone and percussion in bands through my primary and secondary school years, I’ve always been surrounded by instruments that have vibration as an integral part for them – there’s no doubt that this project has been influenced by this.

“It’s been a journey to get to this stage with the device. I’ve been thinking intently about where sound can travel to and where it can go. I’ve tried prototyping mouthpieces and headpieces as I attempted to develop something that could potentially benefit musicians with hearing impairments.

“I think I’m there now with this specific device but I really need guidance and help from sound and acoustic experts to help take it to the next level. It’s by no means a finished product, but it is an idea I’m excited about and keen to take forward.

“All through this project, I’ve had the aim of pushing the sound market in a direction that is a bit more inclusive than it already is. I want to be able to give people at least the option to enjoy music again – something that they might have thought had previously been out of their reach.”

Daniel’s project along with hundreds of others are on display as part of the Edinburgh Napier Degree Show which is being held at the University’s Merchiston campus from 17-24 May.

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