DrumPants, the wireless device that converts your pants into a wearable MIDI controller and music sequencer, can now bring a different kind of music to the ears of those around you. Its creators have recently started a beta test program that uses DrumPants triggers (sensor strips that wirelessly connect to a control box) to control lights and doors and to give a voice to those who have none. People with injuries or disorders that limit their ability to speak can tap the trigger on their body or wheelchair to activate an app that reads out loud any customizable statements or text messages, thereby enabling them to communicate more effectively with others.
This in-development DrumPants Trigger-Activated Communication System (TACS) is essentially a switch accessibility solution for the speech-impaired, whether they're otherwise able-bodied or confined to a wheelchair and able to reliably control only one hand.
A tap on the trigger activates an app on the user's smartphone or tablet. This app can be configured to play back pre-recorded speech or read out a customizable statement. It also integrates with text-to-speech functionality to allow mobility-impaired people to listen to their emails or text messages. And it can even allow them to answer incoming phone calls. You can see a video of it in use below.
DrumPants maker Tappur has also integrated TACS with smart home applications such as switching lights on or off and opening or closing automatic doors. And of course any TACS user could reconfigure DrumPants triggers for making music, playing games, browsing the web, or anything else that's doable with gestures.
Tappur is currently running a US$35,000 Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for further research into using DrumPants as an assistive device for people with speech impairments or brain injuries to communicate with doctors and loved ones, and also to produce a second generation of DrumPants for a general audience.
A full DrumPants 2.0 Pro Kit, complete with two DrumPads that you can strap beneath your clothes and two foot pedals, is available for a pledge of $159 or more. There are also tiers for a dev kit, a basic kit, and an expander pack for existing DrumPants users. The TACS kit, meanwhile, starts at $250. If all goes to plan, backers will receive their DrumPants 2.0 gear in September this year.
People interested in using or testing DrumPants TACS can sign up to a separate mailing list. And if you're thinking of backing the Indiegogo project, you can check out the pitch video below.