Wales

Cardiff firm designs air guitar for interactive T-shirt

  • 1 November 2010
  • From the section Wales

Two designers have developed a T-shirt which allows wearers to be an air guitar performer online.

Cardiff-based Warren Fauvel and Luke Khan have combined a technology called augmented reality with a guitar print.

The T-shirt has a "barcode"-type symbol picked up via a webcam. As the "strummer's" hand passes over, it blocks the light and a point is scored.

The pair developed it for south Wales band The Last Republic but hope that it can be sold across the music industry.

Mr Fauvel, 26, said the design is printed on an ordinary T-shirt, like those sold to music fans at live gigs.

He said: "Bands really interact with their audience. The point is to create an engagement with the band, to make the band's music more appealing.

"The aim is to make the music more accessible.

"It's not a game on its own or to be sold separately. It's only a simple game but it's something that everyone can enjoy for five minutes.

"It's great for us because it's the sort of thing that can go a lot further."

He said an early example of augmented reality was the display used to help fighter pilots identify targets.

Modern digital cameras use it to track a face when someone was composing a photograph, he said.

He said: "It allows you to use a physical object to manipulate the digital.

"The really exciting part of augmented reality is that experts in it don't exist.

'Left handed'

"Our aim is to create something new. We can take it in lots of different directions."

The design students began their partnership in 2007 after they graduated from Swansea Metropolitan University.

The firm, FauvelKhan, has applied for a worldwide patent on the T-shirt, which it hopes to sell to other bands as merchandising.

Mr Khan, 25, said there was a scramble among technology firms to find ways of making money from augmented reality.

He said: "There were a lot of hurdles [in developing the software for the T-shirt] but then there was the fun of playing the game.

"I know the song extremely well."

As well as new versions of the interactive game, he said they were also planning a T-shirt for left-handed air guitar players.

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