Musical Interactive Hoodie


An outfit that enhances the appeal of the performance

In daily life, there are many people around us who are engaged in the music performance industry, and there are also people who love to show themselves in front of people, and love music and dance. But long-time instrumental performances can easily make the performer and auidence feel boring. To enhance the performance, we decided to make an instrument that is simple, portable, full of variety and able to keep the audience feel fresh.

Musical Hoddie is an interactive performance wearable device that combines music, dance and light,aiming at helping performers to improve the attractiveness of their performance, to better present themselves, and thus to retain their audience. Performers can change the pitch, scale, timbre and BPM of the music by body movements, freely compose and play music, and also produce gorgeous lighting effects.

Our project aims to enable users to play music in an enjoyable and highly engaging way, with Musical Hoodie being able to give an authentic instrumental experience.Musical Hoodie encourages people to become more creative and experimental, exploring and creating different sounds. It is a great performance prop. We make the music hoodie look cool because of the appearance attributes of the clothing, and the user can make various sounds and show various lights through body movements. This makes the performance itself a comprehensive combination of music, dance and lighting. The visual and auditory sensations are both attractive and interesting. The music hoodie can act as a real instrument in the case of an ensemble. Users can not only control the pitch, chords, timbre and BPM through body movements, but also perform in concert with other people wearing the hoodie, such as relay, unison, harmony and orchestra. This not only makes the performance eye-catching and varied and keeps audience always fresh, but also promotes interpersonal friendliness.

Technical Description

This project uses Arduino Adafruit Circuit Playground and its components, involves Ableton software, connects to Arduino, and controls different keypress by Arduino, and we use Neopixel LED strips to achieve music, dance moves and lighting effects combine.

1. Three-axis accelerometer
This project uses CircuitPlayground's three-axis accelerometer. By using the serial port detector to observe the X, Y, Z axis output values ​​of the Arduino at different positions, we set 8 sets of different judgment conditions for the X, Y, Z axis output values ​​to correspond to the eight tones in the same octave class. Additionally, we use accelerometers to detect the user's hat vibration and arm vibration. When the user's arm vibration is detected, by setting a variable to change the duration of the pause, the interval between sounds will be shortened. We set a total of five length intervals. When the user switches to the fifth interval with the shortest time, the new arm vibration will cause the sound interval to switch back to the first default interval. Hat vibration is also changed by setting variables to input different key values ​​(see the second point for details).

2. Ableton-Arduino communication
This project builds communication between the Arduino and Ableton software. The Arduino receives the key input from the body movement, outputs the value to the computer, and then triggers the corresponding key in Ableton. We bind two buttons on the Arduino to different keypress ​​to switch different scales. When the left button is pressed, the sound value corresponding to each scale will be modified to a relatively low octave sound value, so that the overall performance is a lower scale. When the right button is pressed, the sound value corresponding to each pitch level will be modified to the sound value of a relatively high octave, so that the overall performance is an increase in the scale. Through Ableton software, we set 10 different instruments and the default instrument is electric piano, we use Ableton's key mapping function to bind keypress 0-9 for 10 instruments. When the user's hat shake is detected and the arm's Arduino is in its initial position, the instrument switches to the next one in sequence. When the user switches to the 10th, the new hat vibration will cause the instrument to switch back to the first default instrument.

3. Visual presentation
This project uses Neopixel LED strips to receive the signal transmitted by the Arduino. According to 8 sets of different X, Y, Z axis judgment conditions, a total of 8 kinds of lights with different color effects are presented.

4. The product itself
We soldered the Neopixel LED strip and distributed it irregularly on the hoodie. Also use bias tape to glue the light strip and wires to the inside of the hoodie.

Final Statement

Musical hoodie has received much attention in 2022 UQ Interactive Design Exhibition. It is widely recognized as a near-future instrument with full instrument functionality (including changing pitch, range, BPM) and playing experience. Meanwhile, our idea of ​​giving life to music through physical movement has been affirmed and praised by the public. On exhibition day, our team has been continuously showing visitors our concept and functions of the hoodie. After learning about our product, users can quickly understand our intended experience. Although some visitors aren’t clear about the future use and meaning of the product, after we explained the target users and our project goals, they can quickly understand our concept and give positive comments.

As for the positive feedback, visitors in particular affirmed we use body movement to create music, a breakthrough that transcends the way traditional musical instruments sound. The interaction that gives life to music can help users express their emotions and feel happy. Meanwhile, it also gives those who know and love music a new perspective to create music, making such users feel fresh and powerful to create music. For those from programming background, they also gave a nod to our tireless efforts using accelerometer sensors and connecting Arduino with music editing software. During exhibition, we also communicated with the visitors who are interested in the field, and explored the possibility of skin musical instruments. There are visitors who wanted to display our design on social media to let more people see our product, and even some asked when this product will appear in the market, giving us encouragement and motivation.

Some experts pointed out the shortcomings. First, rooted in hoodie has characteristics that need to be washed frequently, we didn't consider whether the circuit and light can be washed. We got suggestions that can design removable pockets for the circuit board, and use other structures or materials for​​​​ light. Some visitors recommend to use gesture recognition to replace the acceleration sensor as body movements is not as flexible as gestures, making the performance effect better than that of using only arms. In addition, to make this product more complete and mature, we consider adding corresponding functions to the right hand to realize the control of both hands. And, we need to use Bluetooth to replace using USB to connect to the computer. We look forward to a hoodie which can be separated from the computer, playing different sounds through a piece of clothing.

For the next step, creating a "hoodie orchestra" experience requires us to fine-tune all features with multiplayer in mind, and finding a form of music creation and performance that is more comfortable and easier for users to use body movements. We focus our design not only on performers and those who like to show themselves.In the future, such a design can become purely a musical instrument for performance, or an educational toy for children to learn, but the experience of "giving music to life through body movement" will always run through our product.


Exhibition photos by