The Play Band

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  • Project Title

The Play Band — Play music wherever you want and however you want

  • Project Description  (250 words max)

The Play Band is an interactive textile interface project, the main idea is by providing an instrument to people who love music, that they can bring with them anywhere because of it’s soft and portable, it’ll only take up to a very small amount of space in user’s bag/pocket. It is a fun tool for not just kids but also adults since the band itself has belt loops on the back, which makes the piece can easily go on to different types or lengths of belts.

  • Response

It is a fun tool for not just kids but also adults since the band itself has belt loops on the back, which makes the piece can easily go on to different types or lengths of belts. It can also be a tool for performance art, in which the performer could walk around playing music without being restricted to a certain instrument. It also grants them the ability of a more immersive experience if the choreography plays a role in their performance.

This piece, in my opinion, can be used for different applications, but the main focus group would be people who want to play with some simple music that sparks joy.

By triggering the capacitive sensors, the sound of different notes would be played through the speaker on the board.

The fact that it is a band with belt loops, actually providing the flexibility of where it could be on the human body. By attaching it to belts, which is the initial idea, it could be wear on the waist or crossbody. It could also be applied to a sling bag, in this case, the band becomes a part of the bag, not just functional but also a nice touch to the bag. On the other hand, it could possibly combine with a hairband, then you’ll have an instrument on your forehead, because why not?

The interface itself could sense both the wearer’s action and action from other people, but it’s designed to be more of a single person use than multiple users.

For this project, I was using mainly felt, a fairly good material to work with because it’s easy to find different colors and thickness, also it doesn’t fray so in most cases, we don’t need to worry about finishing up the edges. As for the conductive part, I used both conductive thread and conductive yarn to create the “buttons” and connect them to the board. It was my first time working with these materials, I was impressed by how well the connection it brought and how the interface could be so blended in yet still very much functional.

The measurement for this piece is approximately 30cm x 12 cm it’s not a huge piece, just like I described earlier, it could be folded and it’s thin enough to not be bulky when wearing it on either waist or crossbody.

I wish people who wear this could feel the freedom of playing, they are supposed to interact with it and have fun with it, there is no right or wrong, just like any other instrument, you have to engage yourself.

  • Any findings that you think would be useful to other people working in this area.

Using pins to hold fabrics is a good way for both cutting and sewing.

  • Visuals (photographs & screenshots)
    • (3-5) work-in-progress

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Testing the code

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Making a pattern for cutting

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Small prototype

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Marking out the thread distribution

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Felting the conductive yarn in position

 

  • (3-5) portfolio-worthy final images

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  • Edited video of the interaction (1 minute or less)

https://vimeo.com/388523597

  • Code 

https://github.com/NeonChip/NeoC/blob/master/wearable

  • Project Context

When originally initiating my ideas for this project, the first thought was what this board could offer as a medium. The board itself is like a treasure box that contains various functions within the size of slightly bigger than a bottle cap. Of course, I was thinking about what actions could lead to either light up the LEDs or trigger the speakers to make sounds, at the same time, I need to combine it with a wearable piece.

This reminded me of two famous interactive games that came out a long time ago. The first one is Taiko no Tatsujin, it’s a well-known arcade game in the Asian region, which was first introduced in 2001 and has been growing and evolving ever since. It is a game that requires the players to hit the drums to match up with the beats of the songs. On the other hand, Guitar Hero may be more popular in western countries, the concept is fairly similar to Taiko no Tatsujin, but instead of using drums, people get to play with a specially designed guitar-shaped controller. I personally only been able to play the Taiko no Tatsujin, but I’ve always interested in giving Guitar Hero a try, and this project that I was working on, actually gave me a chance to experience that, except for I chose to go with the piano keys, which I think is a more common instrument and somehow easier for users to play with.

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Taiko no Ttsujin in an arcade

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Gameplay on screen

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Guitar Hero

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Guitar Hero controller

I started off with a sample of tone piano I found on the Adafruit website, and I followed the instruction to test it out before I moved on to the next step. During the process, I also looked into a similar project posted on an electronic crafting website, in which the person recreated his own version of the controller for Guitar Hero, this inspired me and in a way gave me the idea of what the look of my design should look like.

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Guitar Hero: Guitar W/ Strings (MaKey MaKey) by elliot-hoving

I was researching some other wearable electronics to see what more possibilities could be. I found out that most of the pieces are limited to only one way of wearing them, it made me wonder what if I could come up with something that is more user-friendly in terms of the figure of the user and the variety of different placement on the body. That’s when the thought of making my design an attachable band which grants the ability to be applied to different belts, it could be on a regular belt, on a sling bag, or even a hairband. I believe that by giving more possibilities to the piece, it could last longer as a wearable product due to its adaptability and portability.

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The Membrain – Wearable Instrument – Playable Headpiece – SENSEries

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Showpiece, a wearable instrument created by fashion designer Ylenia Gortana and the musician Birdmask

 

  • Reference

Wilson, Mark. “This Hoodie Is Actually An Awesome Instrument”, Fast Company, January 5, 2015, https://www.fastcompany.com/3044492/this-hoodie-is-actually-an-awesome-instrument

The Membrain – Wearable Instrument – Playable Headpiece – SENSEries https://senseries.tumblr.com/membrain

McQuarrie, Laura. “45 Wearable Musical Instruments”, TRENDHUNTER, March 24, 2014, https://www.trendhunter.com/slideshow/wearable-musical-instruments

Reed, Chris. “Why No One Likes ‘Guitar Hero’ Anymore”, Showbiz Cheat Sheet, September 15, 2016, https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/no-one-likes-guitar-hero-anymore.html/

Elliot-hoving, “Guitar Hero: Guitar W/ Strings (MaKey MaKey)”, Instructable Circuits, https://www.instructables.com/id/Guitar-Hero-Guitar-w-Strings-MaKey-MaKey/

Nelson, Carter, “Tone Piano“, Adafruit, Nov 15, 2016, https://learn.adafruit.com/circuit-playground-fruit-drums/caternuson-tone-piano

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