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April 30, 2014 AT 3:00 am

{(r_u.ha)}; Dress Makes Music #WearableWednesday

When you first see {(r_u.ha)} ; you wonder why someone decided to use odd coding punctuation for a project name. However, what we discovered is a deeper meaning, as the word ruha is Hungarian for “dress”. Considering this project is an interactive dress by a group at Budapest College of Communication, Business and Arts, we think it’s right on target. The dress uses body movements to create sounds and visuals. For now it is a work in progress, so we spoke with Gabor Balazs, director and programmer, to find out more about the project and team.

We wanted to develop a new instrument for dancers which they can use live to create music with body movements. There are three other members of the team: Nadia, dancer and choreographer;  Orsolya, programmer; and Kriszta, textile designer. Some of us are still studying and some of us are finished our B.A.s, but all of us deal with art in our daily life. This is an important project for us as it’s an experiment. We started it a few month ago, and now we feel we can create more than just an instrument for dancers; it will be a new form of self-expression for any artist.

Ruha sensors

Of course we all want the behind-the-scenes tour, and here’s the parts list: Arduino Pro Mini, Bluetooth Mate Silver, bend sensors in different sizes and X Y Z accelerometers. Gabor describes the workings.

We use Arduino for now, and collect the data of the movements with bend and push sensors, just like with accelerometers. The dress is wireless and uses Blue-tooth communication. The hardware is sewn directly on the white suit, and eventually there will be another dress layered on top designed by Krisztina, who is the fashion designer of the team.

RUHA CU

The group has only done some practice work for now, but they are excited by the international possibilities. They have applied to LivePerformanceMeeting 2014 in Eindhoven for the summer and already have an invitation for Cologne, as well. We are crossing our fingers that they get some gigs in the US, but for now, we admire them from afar. Go team Budapest! The rest of us can get ready for our own performance art by making a Sparkle Skirt — it uses the FLORA microcontroller and an accelerometer. Hey, did that movement cause the skirt to light up? You bet!

Sparkle


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