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We present Musical Skins: a fabric interface that users can freely manipulate to play music. If draped over the body, interesting feedback modalities emerge. The users feel the tactile properties of the fabric in their fingertips, while at the same time feeling the pressure and taps of the fingers through their body.
Additionally, percussive hits, tones and pads fill the room with sound, leading to a multisensory experience involving the entire body. Our fabric sensor is handmade (see image below), and designed for musical expression, opposing a view of ubiquitous computing that turns us into productivity machines.
Musical Skins can play different roles: a drum kit to create distinct beats and one-shot sounds by tapping it; a lead instrument to play modulated melodies on it; or for harmonics, enabling the exploration of different chords and soundscapes.
Different "instruments" are accessible on the Skins repository, feel free to fork them and tune them to your taste!
This video demonstrates the use of the sensor (the sound is just illustrative):
A step-by-step fabrication procedure is detailed here, but the following picture summarizes well the inside (more details in the publication below):
We're experimenting different conductive fabric etching patterns to allow "analog interpolation" (or interdigitation) and thus improve the sensing localization, even with our small amount of strips.
The strips could look like this but different shapes are explored:
The strip generator is available here.
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