About this project
The Creators Project - "This idea has the potential to be revolutionary in the live performance aspect of controller-based music."
TechCrunch - "This is a cool concept and an interesting and kinetic way to trigger and control beats and sounds.“
Ubergizmo - "Definitely one of the more interesting articles of clothing that might just baffle future archaeologists as they dig this up under a pile of nuclear dust"
Hypebeast - "Pieces like this are the next step for a DJ to bring his live show to the next stratosphere."
Dj Techtools -"Why not wear your MIDI controller on you while you’re walking around?"
THE WEARABLE MACHINES PROJECT I MJ v1.0 Imagine being able to create music by using your body as an interface. Imagine being able to extend that jacket to make it work not only with music, but with whichever devices you have: A Kinect, an iPod, Nike Plus. We believe that the way we interact with our clothing is changing; clothing should not only be a way of covering your body while helping you get laid, our relationship with clothing should be much more than that: clothing should be an extension of our body, and we’re using wearable technology to do that.
We are working with the best musicians, DJ's and electronic artists worldwide to make this project a success. Our first product is the MIDI Controller Jacket. A MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) allows communication between digital music instruments, computers, and other devices (for example, using the jacket’s sensors to send music notes to your DAW). It allows users to control and make music kinetically (through body movements), through body sensors, and by detecting your acceleration and flexion.
The MJ v1.0
All of our jackets draw their inspiration from electronic component devices. This specific jacket is modeled after an LED light, attempting to recreate the electronic component’s form in real life.
DEMO I MJ v1.0
Leaving the electronics aside, the jackets are not ordinary, their construction is very complex. We work with industrial grade materials which are commonly used for other purposes (boat sails, camping tents),they are completely waterproof and hard to work with. They are not regular clothing materials.
The Jackets include a user manual and an account on our website so that we can work together with all of our users to create a product that they need.
The Technology Our first technology is programmed to be a midi controller, but can be adapted to any purpose. We’ve included several sensors so the users can reprogram them.
- Four flexible sensors which can detect your finger’s position
- One accelerometer which can detect your arm’s acceleration
- A joystick
- 4 push buttons
All of these sensors and buttons can be configured by the user, but they come with presets and initial configurations. The sensors are invisible except for placeholders. This is to make sure that the jacket can be used as a regular jacket. We want integration to be complete, and that's why we're working so hard in making sure that, while the sensors are there, they do not affect the look and feel of the jacket. The jacket looks like a regular jacket, and it can be worn under any condition.
This is our first jacket, and we're developing this technology from the ground up. The accelerometers make using the jacket a different type of interface for composing music, adding kinetic capabilities.The jacket will be a platform. This is just the initial functionality, but we’re creating a hackstore that will allow users to upload their own presets and their own programs, so if you want to use it to control your iPod, to mix video, add extra sensors, or hack it to interact with a kinect, you’ll be able to do it. All of our code will be available freely, with libraries that will make extending the functionality of the jacket straightforward.
The final hardware will vary from this, we’re considering adding a second accelerometer, gyroscopes, and replacing the push buttons.
We’ve developed a VST plugin so that the jacket can be connected to Ableton live wirelessly. We’re working on a mobile application for iOS and Android that will allow users to interact with the jacket in a simple way.
- Sound Capturing/Usage
- By recording in the cell phone/Tablet
- Pressing a key and recording a sound
- Configurable pad to match the sensores
- Key Mapping
- Define which keys go with which sounds
- Define which keys add an effect
- Define if the keys are used as buttons, sensors, if they’re pressure sensitive, etc.
- Define the threshold to trigger actions
We are a group of independent developers and designers with ideas of freedom and of the direction that this new industry should take. We ask for your support so that we can produce this wearable machine and finish the mobile applications. The team consists of:
- An Egyptian fashion designer
- An irreverent preacher of freedom of speech
- A trend-hunting fashionista
- An insecure graphic designer
- The king of the tailors
- A great builder
- A revolutionary cineast
- A Pakistani legend
The Money Where is the money going? Creating clothes by hand gets very expensive very fast, particularly when the patterns are not common. We need to raise capital so that we can finish this prototype and manufacture it on a larger scale. Unfortunately, producing the jackets individually is very expensive and we need capital to produce them in bulk. Beta-testing the technology also gets expensive: We need to make sure that the technology is washable, and do usability and resistance tests with different materials, to make sure the products last.
The price of producing the products
The price for producing these products is directly related to the amount we produce. Keeping with our philosophy of complete openness, we’re including our approximate cost of materials for 1000 pieces.
- Wearable Technology: $60.75 USD (Wifi + 6000 Mah Battery + MicroUSB port + waterproofing + sensors + labor)
- Jacket: $70 USD. (fabrics + labour)
- Integration and packing: $50 USD
*This is just our direct materials cost, without taking into account the development of the application an technology.
We realize the importance of a strong community in the success of a product. That’s why we’re releasing all of our diagrams, and creating libraries for our products. In addition to that, we’re starting to set up hacklabs which teach users how to extend the functionality of the jacket, and create the jacket from scratch with DIY materials, in case they find it too expensive, or don’t like our designs. All of the extensions created by users will be available online in a hackstore.
We need your support We are a group of independent developers and designers with ideas of freedom and of the direction that this new industry should take. We ask for your support so that we can produce this wearable machine and finish the mobile applications.
Risks and challenges
Every project is different. The Midi Jacket is a product that was created by merging different areas: fashion, design, technology and production. We therefore have different risks and challenges for each area. Keeping this in mind, there are relatively few risks because we have developed 11 prototypes with different functionalities to be able to beta test with different musicians, engineers and artists around the world. We’ve used their feedback to improve the jacket to make sure that everything runs smoothly. Still, the risks, divided by area, are the following:
Not many risks here. We’ve built the prototypes: the main challenge here is managing to completely hide the electronics. There’s a slight possibility that we won’t be able to industrialize the technology and make it as thin as we want. But as it stands in prototype phase, we’re already satisfied with the results.
The technology side presents bigger challenges. The first is washability. We’re working very hard to make sure that the jacket can be washed easily, just by sending it to the drycleaners. There is a risk that we will not be able to do this fully. This will mean that part of the technology will have to be removable, if that were to be the case, it would just mean pulling something off and putting it back on simply.
This is probably the hardest part. The big challenge here is to manage to integrate the technology cheaply, while building the jacket. Finding a manufacturer that will want to integrate the technology insertion into their process is a big challenge. There is a risk that manufacturers will refuse to do this, in this case we will have to build all of the jackets by hand, meaning a higher cost for us.
Developing the application is a whole different ball game. The application will have to connect using Wifi, the main issue here is making sure that it can connect in ad-hoc and infrastructure mode in an intuitive way. The configurability and UI of the application should be very easy to use and understand, but profound enough for a DJ to be able to use it.
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