KnittedKeyboard II is a MIDI keyboard and scarf you could sport for warm textures

The prototype controller has a five-octave keyboard, Theremin-like proximity controls and more.

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KnittedKeyboard II

Photo: Irmandy Wicaksono via MIT

The art of knitting has met with music technology in the KnittedKeyboard II, a MIDI keyboard that doubles as a snuggly scarf you can wear.

The project was led by Irmandy Wicaksono, a PhD candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.

“A keyboard made out of fabric, besides providing new interactions and tactile experiences for musical expressions,” he wrote in a description, “can be easily folded, rolled up, and packed in our luggage like a pair of socks or a scarf.”

The KnittedKeyboard II is currently a prototype and uses “digital knitting technology” to provide expressive playability; it recognises both pressure and proximity. The controller has a familiar piano key layout in five octaves, but wrap your heads around this: it also has some Theremin-like qualities.

“The KnittedKeyboard II combines both discrete controls from the conventional keystrokes and expressive continuous controls from the non-contact Theremin-inspired proximity sensors by waving and hovering on the air,” its description continued.

Furthermore, you can interact with the controller in unusual ways such as by squeezing, pulling, stretching and twisting it. The output is MIDI information that can be sent to a DAW such as Ableton Live, where you’ll eventually be able to map MIDI messages to different parameters.

KnittedKeyboard II
A variety of ways you can use the KnittedKeyboard II / Image: Irmandy Wicaksono via MIT

The project is a novel concept, though one we’re not sure we’ll ever see in stores. However, Wicaksono’s endeavour is certainly a testament to the ethos that music technology can manifest in interesting ways we least expect; and that in itself, brings a warm feeling to our hearts.

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