Here is a four minute video with more information about the project.
(woohoo! we met our funding minimum! The project is still open though, please consider funding anyway - every little bit helps to lower stress levels and raise the standards!)
We are building wearable tools for interacting with technology that are simple, durable, and open-source. This fundraiser is for a sewn circuit kit that allows users to trigger events wirelessly on their computer (or mixer) using USB (or MIDI) and a sewn set of fabric “buttons” that can be mounted anywhere on their garments.
These funds will be used to test various materials and components for best function, refine the prototypes into a field-usable device, produce a kit version, and open-source the information required to build the device.
What exactly does the device do?
The device has four buttons that are integrated into your garments (removable for washing) and use wireless radio technology to communicate with your computer or MIDI device. You can tell them what to do, so whatever function you think is most important is the one you can call on remotely.
What is it for?
The device can be customized to trigger events on a computer using USB or on an audio mixer or other board using MIDI. This has potential use in an incredibly wide range of applications, for example:
-an audio artist triggering events in their music, dropping loops and beats without being trapped next to a device or computer
-a dancer triggering music changes, lighting events or projector cues in a movement piece
-a presenter controlling their powerpoint slides
-a home user advancing songs or videos in a queue
Why change our interface?
On a daily basis, we cram our monkey bodies into a rigid and rectangular computer world. Our technology objects are external, alien, rather than something that dovetails with the organic aspects of our bodies. Wearing the device creates an intimate relationship that literally changes the way the interface is processed in the brain. Devices mounted on the body can be operated instinctively, using the cerebellum's 'muscle memory'. This frees up the frontal lobe's higher-level thinking for whatever is being worked on rather than the tool used to work on it.
Garments are a ubiquitous, populist technology that is has been through countless engineering cycles to best fit, conform, and enhance our ranges of motion. Our bodies are self-ergonomic; by wrapping our native surfaces with interface, we are able to automatically reach a comfortable starting place for our interactions with the machine. An interface device that travels with the user can be customized for maximum ergonomic fit, and can accommodate more body positions (Standing! Walking! Upside down!). Multiple users could easily interact with the same screen. Recent advances in conductive fabrics and inks have become available for purchase in small quantities, allowing for affordable experimentation and small-scale production.
What happens if it gets funded?
This funding will cover experimentation with a range of materials and designs for the components of the project, the time needed to prototype and test them all, the time needed to digitize and open source the finalized plans, getting together code for various use scenarios, as well as planning and putting together a run of the kits.
More information can be found about Pants Interface at http://mediumreality.com/pantsinterface.html.
- (37 days)