A trio of Korean designers have crafted an innovative new instrument that's likely to appeal to a new generation of visually impaired musicians.
The Vitar, short for "visual guitar," was developed by Eojin Roh, Seonjin Baek, and Yujeong Shin. While few instruments exist today that are specifically catered to the visually impaired, the Vitar is servicing a populace of musicians who respond especially well to auditory stimulation.
As neurological studies have concluded, the auditory cortex of musicians with impaired sightedness often becomes enhanced, leading individuals to be able to better discern more precise differences in sonic frequencies compared to their peers.
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So the team behind Vitar set out to create a guitar that would feel more natural to their target audience. At a cursory glance, the instrument looks much like a standard guitar, but key elements of the electronic instrument's design have been accentuated in order to create practical guidelines for handling it in the absence of visual cues.
This includes its concave body as well as its indented center, where etched parallel lines are embedded to mimic the presence of strings. Therein lies one of the Vitar's hallmark qualities: its braille fingerboard, which allows musicians to hit embossed keys in the absence of traditional strings. And because of its unique structure, the instrument is always in tune.
The Vitar aims to make music creation more fun and accessible where few such solutions exist today. You can read more about the inspiration behind the instrument here.