DrumPants put a whole band in your pocket

DrumPants on Kickstarter let you play (music) with yourself by arming (and legging) you with sensors that can be programmed to play more than 100 sounds. It's you as musical instrument.

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
3 min read
The DrumPants connect to a computer via USB. Video screenshot by Leslie Katz/CNET

Ever catch yourself drumming on your legs? DrumPants, a wearable musical kit that launched a Kickstarter push Monday, turns your gams into a full band with 100-plus sounds.

We probably don't need to point out that the product also invites a whole host of brilliant infantile jokes, which we'll get out of the way up front (these are just a few of the more printable ones courtesy of CNET copy editors Jeff Sparkman and Kelsey Adams):

Putting the "rump" in "pa-rum-pa-pum-pum."
Now people can have pianist envy.
Do they go up to size 11?
This one time, at Entire Band in Your Pocket camp...
Now that's a phallic cymbal!
Man with DrumPants arrested for extended drum solo in public.

Jokes aside, DrumPants really do let wearers compose and play music anywhere they want. But the wearable sensor strips in the kit can be attached and removed easily from any clothing, meaning a shirt, jacket, dress, or skirt can also be turned into a mobile instrument.

DrumPants come with a control box and sensor strips. (Click to enlarge.) DrumPants

"We want to give everyone the ability to create and capture music whenever inspiration strikes, even if you're on a bus, hiking Yosemite, etc.," the creator of DrumPants say.

Using the control box that comes with the system, each sensor can be programmed to play more than 100 built-in sounds, including drums, synthesizers, guitars, and pianos (users can also add their own sounds). Wearers even get the functionality of a looping pedal built into their shoe. Notes and signals can be sent wirelessly from the DrumPants to any app that supports MIDI or OSC.

Co-founder and inventor Tyler Freeman -- who has worked as a freelance software developer for Google, Adobe, BandPage, and the Smithsonian -- first invented DrumPants as a prank, but went on to refine the product's functionality while working on an MFA in digital arts and new media from UC Santa Cruz.

"I'm a drummer, my friends are drummers," he says. "I see people who are drumming on their pants all the time, on their steering wheel, and I figured they should be able to make real music that way."

This isn't the first time we've seen pants turned into drums. A couple of years back, a British teen won an engineering award for creating jeans that similarly doubled as a fully functional drum kit. The difference is that DrumPants might actually make their way into your closet.

After just one day on Kickstarter, the DrumPants project has raised more than $6,700 toward its $35,000 goal, with a month to go. An early-bird pledge of $89 delivers a DrumPants set consisting of six sensors, the DrumPants app, and a control box, while an early-bird pledge of $129 gets six sensors, the DrumPants app, and a control box with Bluetooth.

You can play the DrumPants with headphones or, if you're feeling confident in yourself as a musical instrument, an external speaker. The system can also be programmed to perform additional actions with a tap, like silencing a phone and controlling slideshows and Web sites.

Is that a PowerPoint presentation in your pants, or...? Oh, never mind.