April 16, 2024

Come on Feel the Noise

We were interested to read about an innovative idea from Newcastle United Football Club, as they unveil special Haptic shirts allowing deaf fans to ‘feel’ the noise at Premier League matches.

Unveiled at Newcastle’s home game against Spurs on Saturday 13 April 2024 the shirts, which convert the noise around the stadium to vibrations, were designed following research from the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) which revealed 71% of people with hearing loss surveyed believe technology can make live sporting events more accessible.

Microphones placed around Newcastle’s St James’ Park stadium, converted the crowd’s ambient noise into digital signals and transmitted data to the Haptic shirts. Each shirt received these inputs in tiny electronic circuits, which initiated motors to vibrate in sympathy with the volume of the crowd.

The RNID charity hailed the technology as having the potential for a “real and lasting impact” on how people with hearing loss can experience live sports.

“One in five adults in the UK are deaf or have hearing loss, but people often face barriers in everyday life – including in live sports events,” said Teri Devine, director for inclusion at RNID.

“We’re excited to be part of this collaboration and we hope this exposure opens up conversations among football fans about hearing loss.”