Music : Not Impossible

Music for all.

Not Impossible is a technology incubator with a revolutionary approach to impactful innovation. Their "Help one, help many” philosophy enables the world’s most vulnerable to not only survive, but thrive. What makes Not Impossible game-changing is their ability to pair traditional technology R&D with documentary content – providing a human element that is emotionally undeniable. By triumphing over life’s challenges and using technology to harness the power of storytelling, they’re able to inspire others to challenge the boundaries of what we believe to be possible.

Cinco first engaged with the Not Impossible Labs team in 2015 to start talking about their new project, Music: Not Impossible. The vision was to refine their new technology that allows the deaf community to experience sound. Live music events seemed to be the perfect starting point as a platform for creating and connecting diverse communities. Our collective goal was to design a wearable device and vibrotactile experience that leveraged vibrations to communicate sound. We then expanded the thread to event, environmental design, and product experience to create a seamless and enhanced concert environment for both deaf and hearing audiences.

Our client challenged us to create a solution that would distribute vibrations across the entire body while comfortably fitting a range of body types and sizes. Through months of iterative research, conceptual design, and prototyping we developed a final product design concept that broke down barriers and opened doors. No one other than Not Impossible would attempt such a complex project in such a short time. They brought together an impressive global team to make it happen and the outcome was no small amount of modern magic.

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Product Design

Dialed in.

One of the most immediate challenges was designing a one-size-fits-all system that would comfortably secure vibrating actuators in place. Through anthropometric fit studies and early hand-sewn prototypes, we developed and validated an architecture that would meet the needs of almost any user – regardless of gender, size, and sensitivity. Our team rigorously tested the spectrum of attachment methods, closure systems, harness routing, and adjustment zones to maximize versatility of fit and ease of use.

“We had to consider the visual impacts of a device that interacts with nearly the entire body and will be worn in a concert environment. In the end, progressive design details and constructions from the sportswear and fashion worlds created a modern lifestyle aesthetic.”

— Scott Layton / Creative Director - Product

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Experience Design

Beyond product.

From our experience in developing smart wearable devices, we knew that success would not only come from the development of electronics hardware and technical softgoods, but from making the user experience easy, approachable, and efficient. Alongside key partners, we developed a system for storage, transportation, entry, and exit flow that seamlessly integrated fitting, experience on-boarding, return, and system charging.

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Final Design

High fives for high vibes.

The Vibrotextile™ product we created alongside the teams involved was more than an was invention. The result is an advanced wearable product that gave access to an audience who never before experienced music in such an immersive way. We quickly realized that we were working on something that would have a tremendous social impact.

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Comfortable, durable, and culturally correct, our final design incorporates
vibration actuators across the torso, wrist and ankles.

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Event Experience

Life is Beautiful.

We worked collaboratively with our partners to launch this experience at Life is Beautiful 2018 in Las Vegas. As Not Impossible CEO Mick Ebeling describes, “This represented the first moment in history where music was experienced by a hearing and deaf audience in a shared way. This was not a segregated experience, where each has a different experience, but a unified, inclusive experience. [And] people were literally crying during the show.”

All those at the launch event in Downtown Las Vegas seamlessly experienced music together like never before. From intuitive product sizing adjustments to designing a drink menu for the deaf audience and developing an approachable way to introduce the product to a new user – every detail was considered.

To say the experience was transcendent is an understatement. Not only did our deaf audience members find the experience to be a revelation, but our hearing audience did too. It allowed everyone to experience music, sound, and community in an entirely new and dynamic way.

We know that design can change the world. When working with the team at Not Impossible it comes into action in very clear ways. The system, architecture, product, and experience that we were able to design at Cinco worked flawlessly. Look for this event and technology to continue to expand in the near future. Finally, we’d like to thank all of our amazing partners who helped make this project an amazing experience: Not Impossible, Avnet, Zappos, and Church of Rock and Roll.

**Special thanks to our friends at Zappos for the photography.

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