Drum kit jeans are a real knee-slapper

British teen wins engineering award for creating jeans that double as a fully functional drum kit. Just tap your thighs to hear the beat.

Leslie Katz Former Culture Editor
Leslie Katz led a team that explored the intersection of tech and culture, plus all manner of awe-inspiring science, from space to AI and archaeology. When she's not smithing words, she's probably playing online word games, tending to her garden or referring to herself in the third person.
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Leslie Katz
2 min read
drum kit jeans
Aseem Mishra makes music on his legs. BBC

Is that a drum kit in his pants, or is he just a really smart teen engineer?

Both, it turns out.

Aseem Mishra, a high school student from Hull, England, designed a pair of jeans that let wearers tap out a tune on their thighs by drumming on sensors sewn into the fabric. For his invention, he nabbed first prize in the senior division at the national Young Engineer of Great Britain competition and also got to stuff 1,000 pounds (about $1,600 dollars) into the pockets of his prize-winning pants.

"I have a band and we gig. Every time we go to a place we have to take the drum kit in the car first and then come back with everybody else, so it's a bit of a hassle," Mishra told the BBC. "I think at the time I might have been tapping on my legs, and I thought, I know, why don't I see if I can put a drum kit in my trousers?"

The eight paper-thin sensors make for a fully functional mobile drum kit with snares, cymbals, and the rest--as well as a surprisingly realistic sound. (Watch a video of Mishra and his legs making music here.) Currently, the prototype jeans have to be plugged into speakers carried in a backpack, but Mishra says he's working on a wireless version for ultimate portability.

The pants themselves look as ordinary as any jeans in an Old Navy catalog. Mishra, who has been playing drums for eight years, owns the sole pair of drum kit jeans, but says he would like to find a manufacturer and distribute them more widely. And all those drum solos haven't hurt his legs in any way, he insists.

The enterprising teen now goes on to represent the U.K. at a science and engineering fair in Los Angeles in May. To really impress the judges, might we suggest he pair his pants with a sound-activated equalizer shirt or air guitar Tee?