Richard Helmer
Engineer Richard Helmer plays air guitar while wearing his high-tech t-shirt that turns the strumming into music.
updated 11/14/2006 9:32:58 PM ET 2006-11-15T02:32:58

Scientists say they have developed a high-tech T-shirt that turns the strumming of an air guitar into music.

The T-shirt has motion sensors built into the elbows that pick up arm movements and relay them wirelessly to a computer which interprets them as guitar riffs, said Richard Helmer, an engineer who leads the research team from the government’s Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

One arm is interpreted as picking chords, while the other strums.

The “wearable instrument shirt” is adaptable to both right and left-handed would-be rock stars.

The shirt is a collaboration between CSIRO researchers in computing, chemistry, electronics, music composition and textile manufacture.

Helmer said sensors could be used in the future to reproduce a person in the virtual world so they could get feedback on their actions and improve their sporting techniques.

Air guitar competitions are popular all over the world, with competitors regularly performing in front of hundreds of fans.  

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