Ever dreamed of composing music simply by doing certain gestures with your hands? Then Machina’s MIDI controller jacket is exactly what you need, provided that 1. it will ever get mass-produced and 2. you have the funds to buy it.
Using gestures to create music isn’t really a new concept, but integrating a MIDI controller in wearable clothes certainly is. Machina, as the developer of the wearable MIDI controller jacket is called, is a heterogeneous team composed of 8 people from all over the globe (an Egyptian fashion designer, an irreverent preacher of freedom of speech, a trend-hunting fashionista, an insecure graphic designer, the king of the tailors, a great builder, revolutionary cineast and a Pakistani legend).
The concept includes the following components: four flexible sensors that can determine the positions of your fingers, one accelerometer, a joystick and 4 hardware buttons. To get a better idea about how all these are used and exactly what type of music can be created, watch the video at the end of this post.
According to the developers, the MJ v1.0 jacket is part of The Wearable Machines project, a series of 6 pieces of clothing. MJ v1.0 connects to Ableton live wirelessly, via a VST plugin. iOS and Android apps would also be created, if the concept takes off. The developers will also create a hackstore for app developers, also providing, at the same time, the entire code used in the creation of this jacket. Presumably, in the future, such a jacket could be used for controlling the iPod, mixing video, adding extra sensors and interacting with Kinect.
The concept is currently featured on Kickstarter, and provided it raises $74,500, it will make the jump from a concept to production. Upon successful funding, all of the early birds (the ones who backed the project with $285 or more), as well as the ones who pledged $400+ will receive a MIDI controller jacket. Various bonuses are added for larger amounts.
The jacket without the MIDI controller costs $70, but the other materials, as well as the research and development, determine the final cost to be $400. It should be noted that the developers included technology that still makes the jacket wearable. On top of that, the jacket is handmade, yet not bespoken. The box the jacket comes in doubles as a speaker when MJ v1.0 is connected.