Here’s something you’ve never seen before: a barcode scanner being used as a musical instrument:

Part of the Electronicos Fantasticos project which aims to reuse old consumer electronics by turning them into instruments, this “Barcoderess” may look like normal prison attire but is in fact a piece of clothing covered in a number of different barcodes.

These barcodes do more than make it difficult to check out at the register, however. By scanning the codes using a barcode scanner connected directly to a high-powered speaker, you can create different notes.

In the hands of a maestro (or a very bored cashier), these notes can be strung together to form some really party-worthy beats:

Before it is turned into wearable clothing, the cloth is first spread out and filled with different barcodes. The performer gets to practice with the cloth before the actual show so that once he/she wears the “dress”, he knows exactly where each note is located on his/her body.


To up the difficulty, wearers of the Barcodress actually dance in a frantic but choreographed manner (dubbed the “Barcodance”) during concerts. So instead of waving your hands over your body like someone who can’t seem to find his glasses, you’re actually twisting and contorting yourself to produce your own music.

According to producers Minami Iriyama and the Nicos Orchest-Lab, the Barcodress and Barcodance combo functions like a human turntable, with the clothes being a record, the dancer as a turntable, and the barcode scanners functioning as record needles. This way of thinking, combined with the unique method of sound production, allows for new ways of performing and musical expression.

Electronicos Fantasticos has a number of projects on their webpage similar to the Barcodress, such as a fan bass guitar, an electric fan harp, and a CRT-TV soundboard. If the future of the music industry is this weird, maybe it will keep older people listening to new tunes!


Carlos wrestles gators, and by gators, we mean words. He also loves good design, good books, and good coffee.