Thursday, November 16, 2006
The future, today!
Hi-tech T-shirt turns air guitar into the real thing
Bobbie Johnson, technology correspondent
Monday November 13, 2006
Scientists have cranked it all the way up to 11 thanks to a new hi-tech take on the air guitar.
Engineers in Australia - the home of rock legends including AC/DC and INXS - have developed a new T-shirt which enables the wearer to play air guitar and create real noise in the process.
Richard Helmer and a team of researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Australia's national science agency, fashioned the "wearable instrument shirt" out of an ordinary T-shirt fitted with an array of sensors.
The built-in technologies measure the movements of the wearer, allowing them to "play" by moving one hand to mimic guitar chord patterns and using the other to pluck virtual strings. The shirt is hooked up to a computer that is able to read the signals and turn them into guitar sounds.
The researchers say it allows anyone to thrash out their impressions of Led Zeppelin without ever picking up a real guitar.
"It's an easy-to-use virtual instrument that allows real-time music making, even by players without significant musical or computing skills. It allows you to jump around, and the sound generated is just like an original MP3," said Dr Helmer.
Immortalised in movies such as Wayne's World, air guitar is a popular pastime among millions of rockers worldwide.
Guitar Hero, a videogame in which players strum along to a sequence of tracks, is one of the most popular titles currently available.
The CSIRO team say they plan to create variants of the T-shirt which can mimic other instruments.