Buzz is a wearable wristband that allows people to sense sound through their skin. Using technology conceived in neuroscientist David Eagleman’s laboratory, Buzz offers a non-invasive option for people looking to experience sound in a new way. This includes deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, musicians, app developers, and others who want to create unique sensory experiences.
Neosensory’s first product, Buzz, allows users to feel sound with a simple wristband that picks up surrounding sounds and translates them into patterns of vibration via multiple motors on the user’s wrist. Buzz has the ability to create over 29,000 unique patterns based on a sound’s intensity and pitch and includes customizable settings.
Neosensory, co-founded by Dr. Eagleman and Dr. Scott Novich, has worked with over a thousand people, including hundreds of members from the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, for extensive user research and testing. For those looking to expand their sound perception, Buzz allows wearers to be aware of sounds such as doorbells, people talking, laughter, dogs barking, babies crying, phone notifications, alarm clocks, and anything else making sounds around you. Vibrations can alert users to emergency situations like smoke alarms, sirens, or cars honking. Early-access user Phillip S. reports, “The cool thing about Buzz is that I can feel that the dog is barking or the doorbell is ringing. And now I can feel people’s emotions in their voice. I really love it.”
Buzz’s companion app allows users to switch modes to optimize for everyday sounds, or for listening to music, or for sleeping safely at night knowing they can feel vibrations of emergency alarms. It also allows them to modify settings such as frequency range and strength of vibration.
“This is a major benchmark for the field of sensory augmentation,” said Eagleman. “Building on our decades-long research in neuroplasticity and the capacity of the brain to learn new sensory patterns, users can learn to take in new data streams. Our algorithms allow the brain to do what it does best, which is to learn.” He added, “Sensory perception is like learning to ride a bike: it improves with daily practice.”
Buzz also features an open API for developers which allows them to port any real-time data stream directly into the wristband via Bluetooth. Access the API and SDKs here.