Music by VICE

This Gig Bag Is Actually a Playable Guitar

Interaction designer Martin Hertig’s 'Zippy' is a sound-generating guitar gig bag.

by DJ Pangburn
Sep 15 2016, 12:35pm

Images courtesy the artist

Guitar gig bags are pure function: they’re entirely about protecting and transporting the instrument. Interaction designer Martin Hertig, creator of the Sensible Data machine that makes passports out of personal data, is out to reimagine them with Zippy, “a guitar bag guitar.” With Zippy, Hertig makes the gig bag’s zippers into sound generators, which can output through a jack into an amplifier.

“On the quest for new tangible interfaces I experimented with zippers,” Hertig tells The Creators Project. “The result is Zippy, a guitar bag transformed to a simple but functional guitar. By pulling the zippers you can play it. One zip is for playing notes or chords, one for changing the bar, and one for the vibrato.”

Hertig transformed the bag’s zippers into MIDI controllers using an Arduino and multiple types of conductive thread he stitched along the zippers. He turned the Arduino into a plug-and-play midi controller using Hiduino firmware, while the guitar sounds are produced inside the gig back by a Raspberry Pi running the FluidSynth software synthesizer.

Granted, few will ever shred on Zippy, but it’s entertaining to see the normally boring and functional gig bag become somewhat interactive. See it in action below:

Click here to check out more of Martin Hertig’s project, and for technical details on Zippy, head over to the project’s github page.


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Sound Art
interaction design
Martin Hertig
Raspberry Pi