E-textiles are a phenomenal medium to explore novel musical interfaces. From the commercially available Air Guitar T to a pair of DIY drum kit jeans, to date there are numerous examples of creative instruments that explore unorthodox interfaces.
What sets the Midi Hat apart from the rest (other than the downright cuteness factor) is that the Midi Hat is a collaborative musical interface that allows participants to compose music together. It is the nature of this collaboration, along with the whimsical interface design, that makes this musical instrument quite a delight to play.
Designed by Sunny Oh and Anna Obikane, the hat is made from wool felt and embedded with steel wool to create pressure sensors (see Lara Grant’s tutorial) used to manipulate sounds clips. The fuzzy, colorful balls control volume and speed. Added mainly for theatricality, the LEDs on the hat, when illuminated, also signify that the instrument is ready for play. As for the tech, it uses the Lilypad Arduino and was programmed in MAX/MSP.