Kyungho Jeon of Seoul, South Korea, has loved music all his life. In fact, he connects with melodies and harmonies on a deeper level than many gifted musicians!
The 32-year-old was born blind, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a successful solo percussionist. It has, however, made one goal particularly difficult for him to achieve. Today, Kyungho is finally making his dream come true, and it’s all thanks to two bright minds and one incredible invention!
Kyungho has pictured himself playing in an orchestra ever since he was little. There was only one problem: He can’t see a conductor’s movements.
Luckily, this was an issue Rolf Gehlhaar and Vahakn Matossian were eager to solve! The father and son cofounded Human Instruments, an organization that creates technology for musicians with disabilities. With Kyungho’s input, they were able to invent the “Haptic Baton.”
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This innovative device translates a conductor’s movements into vibrations, which are then sent to receivers worn on the wrist, ankle, or even above the knee! In other words, moving the baton to the left will trigger a vibration in the left receiver.
After testing the baton himself, Kyungho couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities. He’s even thinking about becoming a conductor himself!
“I can feel with my body what I cannot see,” he told CNN. “Through the vibration that is delivered by the device, I can feel how the conductor beats: strong, soft, smooth, or long.”
Rolf and Vahakn are just as excited that their device will open doors for so many people hoping to playing in an ensemble!
“If you look around the orchestra today, you’ll see almost no players of disability,” Vahakn explained. “There are millions of players around the world of exceptional quality, who just happen to be visually impaired. Now, with this new invention, there’s no excuse for orchestras not to have visually impaired members.”
What a game changer! We’re so happy Kyungho and so many others have the tool they need to pursue their dreams. Here’s hoping this device makes its way to every orchestra out there!
Find out how the Haptic Baton works in the video below, and share this story to spread the word.
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