Watch music being brought to those who can’t hear

Raphael Silva is bringing songs to the deaf with Ludwig, a project which lets them experience music.
By Michael MacLennan

Even for those of us who have written about music at length, the idea of trying to describe it to somebody who has never heard it feels impossible.

However, rather than trying to put it into words, what about using the other senses? That's the simple but beautifully effective idea behind the Ludwig project.

The start-up, supported by Red Bull Amaphiko, was co-founded by social entrepreneur Raphael Silva, and he visited the Austrian Association of the Deaf in Vienna to show its potential.

Emerging from Campinas, São Paulo – sometimes described as the "Brazilian Silicon Valley" – Ludwig has been moulded by the community that it’s aimed at. At first the idea was more about teaching music theory – but when the team realised that the means didn’t really exist to convey what music is, they set out to look at ways of creating a new experience which eventually came to combine colours and vibrations.

We want to link Ludwig to the whole world, because we really believe that music is a means of expression and communication.

Raphael Silva

“We have an app which is basically a digital piano,” Raphael said while explaining how it currently works. “In this we have a lot of colourful keys so a person can see and get a lot of visual feedback of the note. Then we have a wristband which is used to give the vibration feedback. With both linked together we bring this new experience for the user – that’s Ludwig.”

The project is in its early stages, and the team are looking for support  In terms of future use, he continued: “We want to link Ludwig to the whole world, because we really believe that music is a means of expression and communication. Having music in your life really enriches it.

“Imagine if you have a deaf person who knows how to play music, and a friend who hears but can’t speak sign language. You can have a great time without saying a word, just playing an instrument. That’s what we want.”

Visit Red Bull Amaphiko for more amazing and ambitious projects started by social entrepreneurs around the world. You can find out more about Ludwig on the project's own website.

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