MIT Knitted Keyboard KnittedKeyboard II
Photo credit: Irmandy Wicaksono
MIT’s KnittedKeyboard II may look like an art installation, but it’s actually a functional musical instrument. This fabric keyboard not only provides new interactions as well as tactile experiences for musical expressions, but it’s can easily be folded, rolled, and then packed up in luggage or a bag. It’s made from a collection of electrically-conductive thermoplastic and polyester, which when combined, create a 5-octave piano-patterned textile. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.



You can either play the keys individually or as a combinations, since they boast multi-touch functionality, as well as continuous proximity, stretch, and pressure. The sensing mechanism is based on capacitive and piezo-resistive sensing, with each key acting as an electrode that is sequentially charged and discharged. This generates an electromagnetic field that can be disrupted when your hands approach, enabling it to detect not only contact touch, but also non-contact proxemic gestures, like hovering or waving.

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MIT Knitted Keyboard KnittedKeyboard II
MIT Knitted Keyboard KnittedKeyboard II
MIT Knitted Keyboard KnittedKeyboard II
MIT Knitted Keyboard KnittedKeyboard II

This work brings us one step closer to the vision of seamless fabric-based interactive surfaces, that is not only applicable in novel musical controllers, but also in wearables, smart objects, and responsive environments. The underlining technology would enable further exploration of soft and malleable gestural interfaces that leverage the unique mechanical structures of the materials, as well as the intrinsic electrical properties of the knitted sensors,” said the researchers.

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