My Body Band
My Body Band is a wearable, musical toy for children ages 5-7 that teaches anatomy. By using integrated speakers and sensors, the suit creates an immersive interactive experience that allows children to physically relate the names of muscles and bones to the ones in their own bodies. For this project, I worked with Ryan Mather and Ben Basseches to create a functional prototype of our design.
How it works
The soft, comfortable jumpsuit has felt bone graphics to help children relate how muscles attach to their own skeleton.
Detachable magnetic muscles encourage kids to place them in the correct location on their body.
Speakers in the suit announce muscle names when they are attached in real time.
Constructing the play exprierience
Played when the suit is turned on, the suit gives the child introductory instructions: “Welcome to my body band. You’re in free play mode. Press the heart to start the muscle song!”
In free play mode, the suit makes tones associated with a specific movement, allowing the child to associate their muscles to the suit. As the child puts on the magnetic muscles, the suit tells them the name of each one, saying “that’s your bicep” when they put on their bicep, etc.
The Learning Song
By pressing the heart button, the child can play a learning song. When the child moves the muscle that is prompted in the audio, a special song is played, helping them learn the names of muscles and anatomy. When the song finishes, the suit returns to free play mode.
After using My Body Band a couple of times, we wanted to see how well our young play tester, Petra, remembered the different muscles she learned about. Here is a video of Petra's father and I giving her a quick quiz.
Anatomy of My Body Band
1. Heart muscle
2. Push Button
4. Arduino .wav shield
5. Arduino uno
6. Arduino mega
8. Conductive magnet
9. Muscle speaker
10. Bend Sensor
After deciding out initial direction, we wanted to test the potential for a suit that would make music and how well a wearer could relate their movements to specific anatomy. We prototyped a suit using some rudimentary sensors and a paint suit we could wear ourselves. Once we tested and refined our ideas, we began creating the final Body Band suit for our younger play tester. We focused on making something comfortable that would be easy to slip in and out of as well as allow us to house our prototyped electronics inside. After a bit of coding, sewing, and soldering we were ready with our final prototype!