Computational creativity and the future of AI

DrumPants will turn you into a human drum kit


December 12, 2013

With DrumPants, you can give your band some rhythm without lugging around a full drum kit

With DrumPants, you can give your band some rhythm without lugging around a full drum kit

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These days, turning yourself into a one-man band is as easy as slipping on a piece of clothing with a built-in sound board, like Machina's MIDI Controller jacket or the Electronic Drum Machine shirt. DrumPants on the other hand uses sensor strips and electronics that attach to the inside of clothing, so you can walk down the street in your own clothes and play a beat just by rhythmically tapping your own body.

DrumPants is the brainchild of Tyler Freeman, who originally created the undercover instrument as a way to prank his friends. It's a similar device to a prototype we saw a few years ago, but much more compact and consumer-friendly.

The basic DrumPants kit consists of two sensor strips and two foot pedal sensors that connect to a control box, all of which are small enough to conceal beneath most types of clothing. Each strip contains two velocity sensors and has thin Velcro patches so users can wear them as a band or run them along a part of their body.

This gives wearers control over six individual sensors at once, but the system can support up to 12 with the addition of extra strips. Once a strip is in place, it just needs to be tapped to produce a sound, which can be heard by connecting either a pair of headphones or an external speaker to the control box.

Once a strip is in place, it just needs to be tapped to produce a sound, which can be hear...

Musicians can cycle through over 100 different built-in sounds using a knob on the control box, including drums, synthesizers, pianos, and guitars. Users can set which sensor plays a certain sound using an included app, which can be accessed through most internet browsers.

A basic control box connects to a computer via USB, while a Pro model supports Bluetooth Low-Energy connections, so it can connect to tablets and smartphones as well. The app can also adjust the tone and pitch of each sound effect and allows users to upload their own customized effects. The DrumPants kit is also designed to work with any app that accepts MIDI or OSC signals, so users can record, loop, and edit their musical creations however they like.

While the DrumPants were designed mainly with music in mind, the wearable sensors do offer some additional uses beyond tapping out a tune. Each sensor can be reprogrammed to trigger actions within a wide variety of apps, so the wearer can, for example, answer their phone, play a streaming video, cycle through a slideshow, or control a game. The software can also connect with certain Arduino boards, in case an industrious programmer wants to use the sensor strips to control another gadget entirely.

The DrumPants developers recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to finalize the software and bring their undercover sound system into mass production. Anyone who wants to pre-order a kit for themselves can contribute US$99 for a basic set and $139 for the Bluetooth-enabled Pro version. If the crowd-funding campaign is successful, the first batch of DrumPants kits are expected to ship in May 2014.

Check out the company's Kickstarter video below to see how DrumPants can make music on the go and confuse any bystanders in the process.

Source: DrumPants, Kickstarter

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things.   All articles by Jonathan Fincher

But what about the hi-hats - cymbal[l]s' - ? Nevertheless, a clever idea.

The Skud
12th December, 2013 @ 04:45 pm PST

I was going to share this with my son who's a keen and tallented drummer. But I wont all the time it's iOS only.

Awesome concept! Looks very exciting. Make it work on more platforms and it's a winner.

Facebook User
12th December, 2013 @ 08:55 pm PST

Reply to "The Skud" -

What about the High hats?.. Why.. in one's Stetson, of course! Rides on the brim, and the Hihat proper on the cap. No shuffle though, unless you want to keep tippin' yer hat ;-)

Doc Rock
13th December, 2013 @ 07:53 pm PST
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