Technology and clothing do not seem to be good bedfellows, don’t you think so? Well, electronic music composer Jeff Bryant must have grown up wondering whether learning how to knit would end up being part of his graduate coursework at California Institute of the Arts. However, he was challenged by his interface design instructor to come up with a non-boring MIDI controller device in fall last year, and Bryant discovered that red yarn could be his unlikely ally. Bryant managed to weave conductive thread into the yarn, and decided that he could manipulate the fiber in order to control a musical instrument.
Receiving help from a costume designer, Bryant managed to knit a bunch of conductive scarves, and asked a dancer to wear them. When the dancer performed Bryant’s “push_push” project, the scarves actually activated the piano’s keys via wireless signals. It does not need ordinary knitting kneedles, but Bryant used a circular kniting machine known as the Addi Express in order to have it function with a supply of conductive silver thread, yarn, and tiny wireless radios. In other words, using a scarf to play a piano, now how about that?