A pilot program at the Lyric Opera of Chicago is trying on a new approach for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to experience opera: the SoundShirt, a jacketlike garment that lets them feel the music. "This was an opportunity to have a physical relationship with the music being performed, and that gets to the very heart of opera," said Lyric general director Anthony Freud. Lyric's SoundShirt project was launched in partnership with the city of Chicago's Mayor's Office for People With Disabilities, but the shirt was designed by CuteCircuit, a London-based wearable technology design firm whose other primary product is a HugShirt, which transmits virtual hugs between distant friends. The Lyric has 10 SoundShirts, with plans to ramp up to 15.

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