Make Your Own Sonic Sound Scarf!




Transport yourself through sound ! Instead of using traditional headphones - this circle scarf has speakers embedded in it, along with a lilypad MP3 player so you can listen to music/sound through the fabric! 

Step 1: Step One

Gather materials :

Fabric (I used a lighter weight material to line the inside and used fleece for the outside) 30″ wide x 60″long
Conductive Thread (I used extra thick weight) 
Micro SD card 
Lilypad MP3 Player 
Regular thread and needle for sewing / can sew by hand or with machine 
Sound Files to load onto SD card 

Step 2: Construction

First I made sure all the hardware worked when connected with alligator clips. 

Step 3:

Find a pattern that works for you. I followed the one labeled "Fur Snood" found on this website :

"Cut 2 pieces of fabric, the outer piece will be about 33″ long x 12″ wide. The second piece of fabric is the liner, cut it to be 33″ long and 2″ shorter so the outer piece will roll over into the inside a little. Pin and sew right sides together the edges together"

I use a sewing machine - but this pattern is fairly simple and you can just hand sew as well. 

Step 4: Construction [Cont.]

Next, I sewed the circuit traces onto the fabric with conductive thread, leaving room for the actual lilypad. 

Draw dotted lines to map out where the conductive thread should go, and then begin sewing the conductive thread into the fabric. 

Step 5: Construction [Cont]

Sew the lilypad to the scarf with conductive thread- I made a pocket for the battery and the speakers ( which were positioned close to where my ears hit the fabric when I tried it on).

Step 6: Add the Sensors/buttons to Trigger the Tracks

I decided to just create a button that is essentially touching the two pieces of conductive thread together (the longer one with large diamond shape fabric is the ground and the smaller triangles are each of the three triggers). You just have to make contact between the large diamond with one of the tracks for a moment to trigger it (Do not hold the pieces of thread together for too long or it won't work right). Because of the way the Lilypad Mp3 is programmed, when you touch a new "button" or trigger, it will stop the previous track and you will set off that new track. 

Step 7: An Inside Look!

You can see that when you or the wearer puts on the scarf you will want to arrange it so that each speaker is near each of your ears. However, it doesn't have to be exact, the volume of the mp3 is actually pretty loud so that you will be able to hear it very clearly- although, other people won't hear your sounds which makes it perfect for commuting on the train (similar to headphones!!). 

Step 8: Watch It in Action!

I chose to use my scarf to demonstrate a binaural sound experiment. I recorded myself walking from my apartment to school using two microphones (one positioned at each ear). The sounds were mostly ambient city noises with snippets of conversations overheard as I passed by people. I wanted the scarf to create a virtual acoustic space, in which the illusion of a virtual sound source outside the listener's head is created. This sound localization project was my first attempt in reifying a relationship between soft circuits and augmented reality.

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    19 Discussions


    5 months ago

    Is it necessary to program lily pad mp3?
    And, what characteristics have these speakers? 8 ohms and 3 watios?
    Thank you very much.


    3 years ago

    I just watched (or rather, listened) to your video and was honestly a little blindsided by the emotional reaction it gave me! I used to live in brooklyn off the L train before I moved to San Francisco and the sound of that commute is so familiar, and dear to me <3 What a perfect demonstration of the link between sonic landscapes and memory. This is a beautiful project. I wish I could experience the full effect by wearing the scarf. Perhaps I will have to make one :)


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I was fascinated by your design! I love the shape and practicality of the scarf, though the lilipad MP3 is more or less an ineliquent solution for several devices that are already on the market and could be simply plugged into the scarf through a mini jack..(?). But your idea is all self contained and that has some strong merit. It should be cautioned with this, as with any wearable sound system, that it should not be worn in any environment where you might become victimized because you cannot hear your attacker coming up from behind. But what a great idea for an icy winter's dog walk!


    5 years ago

    Thats awesome will even work for phones


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, beautiful organic looking design.
    You could use illumination between the layers to make the whole thing glow, or just the trim. Play with the anesthetic or interior or exterior lighting.
    Using a microcontroller to make the light color and intensity change according to the audio, ambient temperature or the wearer's body temperature taking a sample temp near the wearer's corotted artery.
    An embedded radio would be nice. A radio or weather radio could alert the wearer's to severe weather conditions discretely.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice build. An update on the old Bone Fone:


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    4 speakers? Why stop there?
    Why not 8?
    Or 12? ^(O.O)^

    16, you say? That's just crazy talk.


    5 years ago

    Awesome job! Such a neat idea, especially to recreate 3d landscapes. I want to try one with more speakers!


    5 years ago on Step 8

    Very clever. I've been doing something similar to this when I bike, but I just turn my phone on speaker mode with voice recognition, and put it in a tube sock that I wrap like a scarf. I bicycle a lot so it is excellent. Good execution. Can't wear a scarf all year though. Maybe the next project, you should put it in a hat with speakers resonating on the skull bones. Should be able to hear very clearly, but should have no externally audible sound. I'd be interested in syncing bluetooth to a hat like that. I have many other suggestions IYL.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Seems as though it would be absolutely amazing to use in a office cubicle environment surrounded by loud printers/fax/copiers...yes I do need one of these.


    I'm not an expert but as far as I know speakers needs an enclosure to work well, to avoid interaction from the waves generated in front and back of the speaker which are in inverted phase so it cancels itself.
    As it is a soft circuit maybe will be complicated to implement this, but you can try a "baffle", which consists in just something flat around the speaker... would be something like as you put your speaker in the center of a CD (of course you can enlarge the hole to fit the speaker).
    If you like and try it please post results ;)


    5 years ago

    Last year my sister gave my son a hoodie that has speakers sewn into the hood. They seemed to be encased in a very thin plastic so it could be washed in a washing machine. The headphone jack was in the pocket. He loves it. I like the fact yours is not a hood , it doesn't look like you are trying to hide from the world.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Nice project.

    You should embed the video in the Instructable itself, and it would be cool to be able to hear a stereo track of your sound recording.

    (Also - DT represent!)