MIT researchers turned a strip of fabric into a high-tech musical instrument

By Hannah Yi

MIT researchers have created a musical instrument that you can twist and pull. The experimental keyboard is made from soft layers of fabric that have sensors. It’s all sewn together with conductive thread. You can play it like a traditional keyboard, but the FabricKeyboard also responds to pressure, proximity, and stretching. Right now, the instrument is limited to a few keys, but researchers hope to add more, as well as some additional sounds.

It follows in the path of other musically intelligent textiles that have been developed by MIT researchers, like a ball embroidered with fabric sensors that you squeeze and stretch to make music, or a conductor’s jacket with sensors that collect information about the wearer’s gestures, heart rate, and body temperature.

Watch our video to see how the FabricKeyboard works and sounds.

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