I know we don’t get the best weather in the UK but it is hardly winter, so why are we talking about scarves? Well, MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have developed a prototype keyboard you can wear around your neck and use to keep warm in winter. What more could you possibly need in life?!
Created to take advantage of “the soft and deformable tactile properties of knitted textiles,” this is an expressive keyboard that can also be played like a theremin and, of course, worn like a scarf.
The prototype utilises digital knitting technology and explores intarsia, interlock patterning, and a collection of functional (electrically-conductive and thermoplastic) and non-functional (polyester) fibres to develop a seamless and customized, 5-octave piano-patterned textile for expressive and virtuosic sonic interaction. The individual and combinations of keys could simultaneously sense touch, as well as continuous proximity and pressure.
The KnittedKeyboard II combines both discrete controls from the conventional keystrokes and expressive continuous controls from the non-contact theremin-inspired proximity sensors by waving and hovering on the air, as well as unique physical interactions enabled by the integrated fabric sensors (e.g. squeezing, pulling, stretching, and twisting). It enables performers to experience fabric-based multimodal embodied interaction and unique, intimate and organic tactile experience as they explore the seamless texture and materiality of the electronic textile.
You can check out more information about this prototype over on the MIT Media Lab website.