CSIRO air guitar ready to rock

A team of CSIRO scientists have answered the prayers of air guitar aficionados everywhere; they've created a T-shirt that actually plays face-melting guitar solos with the simple strum of your arm.

What started as a backburner project for Dr Richard Helmer and his team of scientists from the CSIRO's textile and fibre technology division in Geelong, turned into a full time project early this year when the collaborative efforts of computing, chemistry, electronics, music composition and textile manufacture experts helped create the Wearable Instrument Shirt (WIS).

The WIS, which was created by weaving about five metres of electrically conductive threads into a simple K-Mart T-shirt, contains elbow sensors that are connected to a wireless communications device. When the sensors detect movement, a signal is sent to a wireless port in the shirt's side and then radioed to a computer that deciphers the motions into music from pre-mapped audio samples. So, for example, a 45-degree bend could denote the chorus while a 90-degree bend could translate to a verse.

"Freedom of movement is a great feature of these textile-based interfaces," said Dr Helmer. "The software takes the wearer's concept of an instrument and lays down music on top of it. So you can choose certain sections of a song like the rhythm guitar and rock out."

The WIS can simulate any instrument, from the guitar to the tambourine or even original user-created sounds, he said.

The design originally included the use of fingers, so users could play specific notes on an imaginary fret board, but Helmer scrapped it when the process became too complicated to execute.

"Although the technology, which is adaptable to almost any kind of apparel, takes clothing into the realms of entertainment, it's always important to keep it simple for the intended user," said Helmer.

Next on the agenda for Helmer and his team is to develop a 3D suit with the addition of extra sensors on shoulders, chest and back. He said this could be used in a variety of applications from physiotherapy to playing video games.

"This has great potential for video games," said Helmer. "We're already in the early stages of developing a shirt that will allow us to play Tetris."

A video of Helmer demonstrating the air-guitar T-shirt is available on the CSIRO's Web site, www.scienceimage.csiro.au/mediarelease/air-guitar.html

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?