Not yet available at the Gap or Hot Topic, but still very cool: the wearable instrument shirt. In other words, a t-shirt that bring your hottest air-guitar riffs screaming to life.
This from Dr. Richard Helmer (shown in action at right), a research scientist at CSIRO Textile & Fibre Technology in Australia:
Our air guitar consists of a wearable sensor interface embedded in a conventional ‘shirt’, with custom software to map gestures with audio samples. It’s an easy-to-use, virtual instrument that allows real-time music making, even by players without significant musical or computing skills. It allows you to jump around and the sound generated is just like an original mp3.
The company is working to develop “human–computer interfaces, using their knowledge of advanced intelligent textiles.” Personally, I’m made somewhat nervous by the phrase “advanced intelligent textiles.” I get visions of my clothes slithering around the closet at night and doing unspeakable things on each other’s hangers, or of my shirt announcing in a loud voice one morning that it just does not go with those pants.
But for the time being, the intelligence is serving the lively purpose of allowing would-be music makers to wail away on their imagined axes — and shatter the air with real rock-and-roll chords. You can watch a video of the wearable instrument guitar shirt; the company also has a tambourine shirt and a guiro shirt for air-percussionists. (Don’t know what a guiro is? Neither did I; but it turns out I have one sitting on my piano.)