Making Music on a Flexible Fabric Keyboard

For nearly as long as humans could control electricity, we’ve been experimenting with how to make music with it. This has exploded from the…

Hackster Staff
3 years agoMusic

For nearly as long as humans could control electricity, we’ve been experimenting with how to make music with it. This has exploded from the invention of the theremin in 1920, to the arrival of synthesizers later that century, to the ability for anyone to make an instrument using readily-available electronics. Apparently, as the FabricKeyboard by Irmandy Wicaksono and Joseph A. Paradiso shows, they can even be made of flexible fabric.

The device, or rather pair of devices which implement different interface methods, are beautifully sewn together out of multiple sensing layers, and use an Adafruit Feather M0 WiFi to pass along musical data via a MIDI signal or other protocols.

You can play the FabricKeyboard just like any conventional keyboard, or manipulate the sounds by deforming the fabric itself — by pressing, pulling, twisting, or hovering or waving your hands above the material.

Control methods include: proximity and touch, electric fields produced by one’s body, pressure on the fabric keys, and even how much the keyboard is stretched. An external ribbon controller or trackpad can also be added for more fun.

Be sure to check it out in action below, or for more technical details, the entire paper can be found here.

[h/t: Co.Design]

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