Super sonics; The perfect chair for all of those who like their music with plenty of bottom notes. Photographs by Sacha Tenlon and William Taylor
Michael O’Connell-Davidson is studying Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University. Currently in his second year, Michael is examining subjects such as media law and health reporting, with academic interests including the representations of minority groups in popular culture and the role PR plays in the way news is covered.
Saturday 12 September 1998
In his former life as a record producer and musician, the technology designer Adam Williams became intrigued with how music frequencies and rhythmic cycles interact with the body. His research (which included placing water beds on "bass bin" loudspeakers) led to the idea of building the bass into the seat of a chair so that it vibrates your body.
The reasoning is that we hear music at two distinct levels. One is, naturally, with our ears - hence two built-in speakers at head height. But we also "hear" music in the lower brain, the lymbic region, which controls our metabolism and regulates the immune system, says Williams. This area responds directly to the vibrational content of music - Williams believes that the reason we feel the urge to turn music up is so that it resonates the body physically. The vibrational resonators in the chair give the impression of loud music, while actually using "low- sound pressure". The result is a "psycho-acoustic" effect - you feel the bass coming through the seat at levels equivalent to a club or gig (and that no domestic hi-fi can match) but you don't end up destroying your ears or alienating the neighbours. This works with all types of music, and the effect is explosive if watching noisy films.
The Vibro Chair was the first commercial application of Williams's research, but his real interest lies elsewhere. He believes that specific vibrations have healing properties, exciting cells at correct frequencies to boost the immune system. It's early days yet, but Williams claims to have cured four frozen shoulders. Prototype units in hospital for clinical trials are the next stage. In the meantime, you can plug in one of today's audio/visual sources and become enveloped in your own cocoon of listening and, just possibly, healing.
Vibro Chair, pounds 3,124 (with leather upholstery), pounds 2,844 (fabric upholstery), handmade to order from Plant, telephone 0171-224 3777.
Perfect plug-ins, clockwise from above left: Kenwood Portable MiniDisc DMC-G7R
Palm-size MiniDisc recorder, with advanced recording functions and more than nine hours' playback with lithium battery. Kenwood portable MiniDisc, price on request. For further information and stockists, call Kenwood on 01923 655 273.
Aiwa XP-R970 Compact Disc Player
CD with AM/FM stereo radio, 30-station presets, anti-shock system, heat- resistant body. Comes complete with rechargeable battery. Compact Disc Player/Radio, pounds 99.99. For information, contact Aiwa customer helpline on 0990 902902.
Sony Watchman FDL-E22U
2.2-inch LCD Colour TV with strap antenna to take anywhere. Sony Watchman, pounds 100. For further information and stockists contact Sony Customer Information Centre, 0990 111999.
Sony MZ-R5ST Recording MiniDisc Walkman
Portable MiniDisc that has a base station with a large display for editing, remote control and a host of accessories. Sony Recording MiniDisc Walkman, pounds 500. For further information and stockists, contact Sony Customer Information Centre, 0990 111999.
LG AHA-RX11M Personal Stereo
LG's recordable personal stereo comes complete with Dolby B, a digital radio, rechargeable battery and four-channel surround speaker (not shown). LG Personal Stereo, pounds 129.99. For further information/stockists LG on 01753 500 470.
Panasonic Portable DVD-L10
Weighing less than a kilo, this will play DVD films, music CDs and video CDs. The 14.5cm LCD screen is high-resolution and wide-screen compatible. Panasonic Portable DVD, pounds 1,000. For further information and stockists, call Panasonic on 0990 357 357.
Michael Oliviera-Salac and Martin Skegg
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