Avnet and Not Impossible bring ‘inclusivity’ technology to scale

Turning ideas for solving “life’s absurdities” into marketable products is the goal of a new partnership between Phoenix global technology solutions leader, Avnet, and award-winning incubator, Not Impossible Labs.

The impossible became the possible recently with their first collaboration, a technology that enables the deaf to experience live music. Expect other products soon as Avnet helps Not Impossible take its ideas “for the sake of humanity” to scale.

The multi-year partnership combines Avnet’s product design and manufacturing expertise with Not Impossible’s mission to enhance quality of life and increase accessibility and “inclusivity” for people who lack access and opportunity or suffer from challenging health conditions.

The two companies plan to transform Not Impossible’s ideas into low-cost solutions for the health and wellness, safety, communication, and entertainment markets.

They unveiled the first of several innovations, a wearable vibratory called Music: Not Impossible, at the Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas featuring rock band Greta Van Fleet. Deaf and non-deaf concertgoers donned lightweight vests and wrist and ankle bands to become immersed in a sensory experience through musical vibrations on the skin. A wireless wearable system creates zero-latency vibrations, in perfect synchronization with the music.

It was a first-in-a-lifetime experience for the deaf concertgoers and emotional for many, said Kevin Sellers, Avnet’s global chief marketing officer.

“You’re really feeling each one of the musical instruments and sound waves on different parts of your skin as you’re watching it and hearing it,” he said.

Sellers believes the technology “is the future of the live music experience” for all audiences.

“We don’t think we’re far away from where you can rent this equipment for $25 at a concert and have a much richer experience,” he said.

Another product soon to be released is Vibrohealth that uses Vibrotextiles ™, vibratory wearables, to help individuals suffering from motor-related issues. In successful trials, the technology reduced or eliminated involuntary tremors to the point they could return to activities they once enjoyed.

Mick Ebeling, Not Impossible Founder and CEO, started the Venice, Calif. company in 2008 based on the premise that nothing is impossible and that through technology and will, life’s absurdities can be overcome. The company has won countless awards. Ebeling is a recipient of the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year Award, and listed as one of the most influential creative people by Ad Age’s Creativity 50.

“They are an amazing group of engineers who have figured out how to create point solutions for very difficult technologically challenging situations that are aimed at helping people,” Sellers, of Avnet, said. “But they’ve never been able to turn that into a real market product that scales. That’s what we’re so good at, where we can take it beyond the lab.”

Avnet has purchased a number of companies to broaden their reach in supporting every stage of product life cycles including small-scale specialists Premier Farnell and element14, design-focused Hackster.io, and manufacturing solution provider Dragon Innovation.

To view clips from the concert, go to Technology for Good.

Victoria Harker

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