If you’re the kind of person who taps your hand to a song’s rhythm, you’ll find this device quite "striking:" The wearable gadget DrumPants allows the user to create drum rhythms simply by tapping pressure-sensitive buttons built into straps. The gizmo connects to any mobile device or tablet, making it easy for hand-musicians to create their own tunes with this wearable drum-kit. Metro chats to the device’s co-creator Tyler Freeman, who has just completed his crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.
What’s the appeal of your device?
As a drummer, I know how hard it is to get started with drumming. You need to buy an expensive, bulky drum set, then find a studio or place to store and play it, which is hard if you have neighbors or live in a small apartment, and then of course you need a car to transport them to shows. With our device, you can put on headphones and play as loud as you want right on your couch.
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How easy is it to control?
Anyone can try it, from kids to the elderly. The sensors are velocity-sensitive, meaning the harder you hit them, the louder the sound is, just like a real drum. And they also have foot pedals that go into your shoe, so you have a bass drum, looping pedal, etc.
Do I have to create all the songs or is there any music app?
Both. You can customize your own sounds or use hundreds of music apps as it connects wirelessly to your smartphone or digital device via Bluetooth. The DrumPants app can control other sounds and apps as well, and you can record your playing in any number of apps. And, of course, you can trigger drum sounds, piano and synthesizers.
So I can mix the sounds?
Yes. You can use apps like Loopy or Abelton to loop beats, so you can play a drum beat, tap your foot to start looping it, then play guitar or other sounds to your beat. You can build layers to make whole songs this way, or just jam with your friends.
I’ve heard you’ve developed a version for people with disabilities.
Yes, we’ve been working on a separate project called DrumPants TAPS to help those with disabilities communicate. People with ALS, cerebral palsy or brain injuries will be able to tap the DrumPants triggers to speak customizable phrases from their phone. They can also be used for music therapy for autistic children. There's so much we can do.
And can I really use it to play games as well?
Sure. You can use them as a controller for any game on your computer: The DrumPants app allows you to assign a keystroke to any DrumPad. So you can assign one to press the "Up arrow" key, moving you forward in the game, or press the "Space" or "Ctrl" key to jump and shoot. You can also use them with musical games.
The gadget has been branded as an open source. Why did you decide to do it?
So many of our customers have come to us with new ideas on how to use the DrumPants in new ways. We decided to make DrumPants open-source, so those people could program them to do new things that we had never thought of. Wearable technology is the future, and we want to give creative people a way to make wearables their own.