by Linda Machina

Musical Interlude

Musical Interlude

Musical interlude

A California-based start-up called Machina is using skilled Mexican artisans to handcraft a jacket that makes music.

The Machina Midi (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) jacket is the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign that ended in February 2013 and raised $77,000.

Linda Machina is one of the co-founders.

Machina Midi Jacket
Image captionThe Machina Midi Jacket is designed to turn the body into a musical instrument

"We went to a concert and saw a guy just making music through his computer," she says.

"We wanted to change that. We wanted to bring the act of performance back to life by having the musician use his body as an interface."

Embedded in the fabric are four flexible sensors which can detect the position of your fingers, an accelerometer which tracks the movement of your arm, a joystick and four push buttons.

The sensors and buttons can be configured anyway the wearer wants. It is linked to an interface app either on their computer or mobile device.

"This is our first jacket, and we're developing this technology from the ground up," says Ms Machina.

"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 hack store 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.

Sensor locations on Midi Jacket
Image captionRead the signs: The sensors are embedded in the fabric of the jacket, with geometric graphics to indicate their location

"All of our code will be available freely."

The company is still experimenting with the final hardware, and is considering adding a second accelerometer, gyroscopes, and replacing the push buttons.

Kickstarter backers should get their jackets later this year, while the rest of us will have to wait till early next year.

via  - BBC UK