THE FUTURE OF BASS IS IN YOUR HANDS
A NEW INVENTION! THE BASSLET
Compressed audio and MP3 players have made music increasingly mobile, but where does that leave the physical sensation of low end? It’s a question that’s guided audio engineers towards the uncharted waters of tactile audio technology. One of the latest developments is the Basslet, a wearable device that sends vibrations into your wrist, inducing bodily hal- lucinations of bass and musical depth
Why Are Hands The Gateway For Feeling Music In The Future?
Our hands and wrists are especially sensitive to touch sensation. It’s not only the number of nerves but how closely the brain “listens” to those nerves. A blind person can read braille through their fingertips and a cellist can feel the subtle vibration of a bowed string. Actually, MIT researchers have recently developed a wristband that lets your entire body feel cold or warm-like an air-conditioner wristwatch. The wrist, as the extension of the hand, exposes vitals, like our pulse, which makes it really quite a unique part of our body. The Basslet works by using a perceptual trick. The brain doesn’t localize the music we hear to any single part of the body. So the Basslet is designed as an extension of what we hear, and the brain happily fills in the perceptual gaps. On the flip side, musicians often aren’t aware of their tactile listening skills when playing an instrument. Laptops and digital instruments don’t have any vibrotactile feedback; they feel completely numb.
How accurate are the sensations Basslet creates?
The Basslet is like a small, high-precision speaker facing your body, and body perception will quickly tell us if a track has punch or “transients” as we call it in music production—even better than the ears do. Tracks with clarity and space in the bass feel great on the Basslet. Tracks that smush the low frequencies don’t feel as good. Music can lose its punch when stretching a song or adding certain effects. Although losing transients is sometimes hard to hear even for professionals, it’s instantly felt on the skin.