“Buttkickers” installed at Clowes Hall

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The sounds of Paul McCartney bounced around an empty Clowes Hall on Thursday afternoon. It was a test.

“Clowes has always tried to be as innovative as we can be,” said Joshua Lingenfelter, the Director of Marketing at Clowes.

The innovation just installed and tested is called the Buttkicker. “It’s about creating a more inclusive environment for all communities within Indianapolis, within the region.”

The technology isn’t new. The use of it is. Lingenfelter said the sound from performers on stage gets run through a different set of amplifiers, through wires, to little motors beneath eight seats. “Those, then create the vibrations. It just has a tiny little motor that just moves back and forth so that, as the sound is being played, the motor is reacting.” The motor sends vibrations into the seats.

The idea is to get reaction from people who might not be able to enjoy a Clowes Hall concert, otherwise. Lingenfelter said this is for the deaf and hard of hearing. “Opening it up for new audiences, that’s a really, really cool thing to be able to do.”

The units cost about $250 apiece, Lingenfelter said. But, it is being done at no cost to Clowes Hall. Lingenfelter told 24-Hour News 8 it’s covered by a grant from the Broadway League. It can even be adapted for home use, if someone would want the sensation in a home theater.

The Buttkicker system comes with the slogan “Feel what you’ve been missing.” For now, that will apply to the eight guests who have tickets for the seats at this weekend’s Blue Man Group shows. In return, they will offer advice for improving the technology at future concerts.

But, even with this limited demonstration, Lingenfelter already knows one thing. “We’re really, really proud of this project.”

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