Flashy MIDI Jacket is a wearable electronic MIDI controller with visual feedback. It was my final project for Scott Hudson’s Gadgets class at CMU.

Apologies for the poor documentation quality; my fancy camera broke :(


This is a completely revamped version of the Anxious Jacket I made a few years ago. Showmanship is an extremely important aspect of live music performances (see: Daft Punk), so I wanted make a ‘prop’ that could serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose. When the jacket is zipped up, the controller is disabled; no MIDI messages are sent.  When the jacket is zipped down it enters 'performance mode' which allows the wearer to interact with the copper buttons on the left and right sleeves. On the left sleeve there are 5 copper strips which play MIDI notes.  Pushing a strip triggers a note on event with a pitch corresponding to the strip's preprogrammed note, and releasing triggers a note off event.  On the right sleeve there 3 copper buttons which provide the user with additional performance controls, such as changing instrument voices. 

The 42 studded NeoPixel LEDs visualize played notes.  When the user plays a note they create a chain of lights whose color corresponds to the key they are playing.  The length of the lights is proportional to how long the user holds down the key.  When multiple keys are pressed the chain color is the RGB mix (average) of the pressed key colors.  The light chains trickle down the lapel as time progresses.




This jacket was made using an Arduino. The sounds in the demo video were synthesized in Ableton Live.