A Swedish company has developed a musical tablecloth with a drum kit and piano keys printed on the fabric. Ben Gruber reports.
Mom always said not to play with your food. But she didn't say anything about the tablecloth. (UPSOUND TABLECLOTH PLAYING) A Swedish tech company has developed a tablecloth embedded with smart fabrics that turn ordinary cloth into musical instruments. (SOUNDBITE) (English) "SMART TEXTILES" RESEARCHER MATS JOHANSSON SAYING: "It is a full drum kit. You have like a hi-hat, base drum, snare drum, some tom-toms and cymbal". The tablecloth is woven with conductive fibers and embedded with sensors. The on/off switch? Human touch. (SOUNDBITE) (English) "SMART TEXTILES" PHD RESEARCHER LI GUO SAYING: "You can see that we have several different pins here, so they are actually functioning as sensors. So when you press one you actually switch it on. And the technology behind this is sense capacitive coupling. So actually it senses any of the conductors and you know that human beings are conductors so when we put our finger on it, it actually switches on." Past playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star….the tech represented by the tablecloth translates to a growing trend in the field of wearable electronics. Transitioning the sensory technologies found in devices like Fitbit into the clothes you wear. (SOUNDBITE) (English) "SMART TEXTILES" PHD RESEARCHER LI GUO SAYING: "Sensors can be of different kinds. Now we have touch sensors here. We also work with stretchable sensors, and textile electronics that can get signals for example from heartbeats from the human body. So that can be very helpful with home-based health monitoring." The goal now is to bridge the gaps between hardware and soft electronics, if successful - it will be music…to a techie's ear.