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KnittedKeyboard II breaks new musical ground

Swatches | October 1, 2021 | By:

The KnittedKeyboard II can sense physical contact and gestures in the air.

Musical keyboards with digital interfaces (MIDI) come in many sizes, but all rest on a rigid, heavy structure. Irmandy Wicaksono from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab found a user-friendly alternative in textiles and developed an interactive textile-based musical interface, laid out in the familiar 88 keys of a piano. KnittedKeyboard II combines discrete controls from conventional keystrokes and expressive continuous controls from the noncontact theremin-like proximity sensors that respond to hands waving and hovering in the air, as well as unique physical interactions enabled by the integrated fabric sensors, such as squeezing, pulling, stretching and twisting. In addition to the keyboard providing new interactions and tactile experiences for musical expressions, it can be easily folded, rolled up and packed in luggage, or worn as a scarf. 

The KnittedKeyboard II can be thrown over the shoulder like a scarf or cabled up to a laptop running music production software and used as an expressive MIDI keyboard. Photos: Irmandy Wicaksono/MIT Media Lab.

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