I first became aware that experiencing sound through bone conduction was possible when I lost hearing in one ear due to a tumor (acoustic neuroma).
One of the possible ways to "fix" monophonic hearing is to drill a screw into the skull and attach a receiver to it, such that sound waves are converted into vibrations in the skull.
Having an open wound just behind a non-functioning ear was not an ideal solution, so I let my body adjust to having one ear.
At first my auditory perception seemed flat, but soon I began to notice that I was experiencing sound through a combination of tympanic hearing and vibrational resonance.
One day as I sat down at the piano, I suddenly became aware that the entire instrument felt alive in my hands, each note traveling up my arms and giving a surprisingly rich experience of sound.
I decided to adapt bone conduction technology into a helmet, in order to share my emerging haptic perception of sound without the necessity of surgery.
Re-wired consists of a helmet that leaves the wearer free to roam their environment and experience a physical sensitivity to sound.
The helmet contains small, sensitive microphones, signal amplifiers, vibration components, and effects circuits. Dials to adjust the sound and volume are mounted on the side. I invite volunteers to explore the sounds of their environment through their skull, bypassing their ears.
Hearing protection gear is provided to isolate the participant's haptic perception.
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