Inspired by passion
Aseem Mishra, a 17-year-old pupil from Hymers College in Hull, won the senior age group title at the Young Engineer of Great Britain Competition for designing a pair of jeans that double as a drum kit. When wearing the jeans you can tap out a tune on their thighs by hitting sensors placed inside the trousers, the amp and circuitry is carried in a backpack.
Mishra explains where he got his idea; ‘I’ve been drumming for about eight years now and it’s such a hassle taking a drum kit around. I’ve got a band and whenever we go to a gig, we put the drum kit in the car and it fills the whole car. So one of the guys has to go to the gig in the car with the drum kit and come back for everybody else. This was just a project I was doing at home in my own time, I love electronics and I love drumming so it’s a culmination of my passions. I just started messing around at home and I’ve got a system that works.’
The invention works through sensors in the trousers which ‘give out an analogue signal,’ says Mishra, ‘and that signal is sent to a bag which contains the circuitry. The bag is completely portable, with speakers in it, so you could be in the street jamming. The bag has sensors which convert the analogue signals into Midi. Midi is a standard in all computers and there are thousands of software packages available online, which are Midi compatible so you can plug it in to loads of stuff and get really proper realistic drum sounds.’ You can also use headphones to listen privately to your drumming.
Mishra is busy optimising his drum kit for the Intel Science and Engineering Fair at Los Angeles in May, where he is representing the UK, ‘at the moment you have to plug yourself into the bag with a ribbon cable, but I want to make it wireless.’ Mishra hopes to study medicine and would like to put his talent for inventing things to working in the field of bioengineering or biomechanics perhaps. ‘I’ve got ideas for other inventions,’ he says, ‘this is something that I do for fun and after my exams I have the whole summer to bash away at things.’