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Piano

Music

TouchKeys brings multitouch tech to piano-style keyboard

The TouchKeys multitouch musical keyboard comprises capacitive sensing strips stuck to the upper surface of each key, circuit boards housed within the host instrument that collect all the sensor data, and some custom software running on a connected computer. The system can be paired with any software or synthesizer capable of understanding MIDI or OSC, with the movement of the fingers controlling the kind of sounds produced. Dr Andrew McPherson now plans to make the fruits of this university research project available to other musicians by offering self-install TouchKeys kits to crowdfunders.Read More

Music

Yamaha's NU1 is claimed to be world’s first digital/acoustic hybrid upright piano

Yamaha US has started shipping the NU1 piano, an acoustic upright with the digital heart of a grand. The latest addition to its hybrid product category, which includes 2009's AvantGrand, the new family member is being pitched to serious musicians who are short on space, but still want to experience the feel and sound of a high-end – and therefore much more expensive – concert grand. It features the same piano action used in acoustic pianos, while the sonic mimicry comes courtesy of digital samples of the company's hand-built CFX Concert Grand.Read More

Electronics

"Things Come Apart" reveals the inner workings of everyday consumer tech

Things Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living is a new book featuring the work of Canadian photographer and master disassembler, Todd McLellan. The book features images of the inner workings of 50 everyday items from bicycles and chainsaws to modern day computers and phones, with each component painstakingly laid out with geometric precision. McLellan hopes that the imagery of the disassembled objects will help people appreciate the elaborate and efficient designs of modern technology, while exposing the beauty and quality of older items.Read More
Music

Seaboard GRAND alters notes on the fly with flexible keys

It's said that an instrument is only as good as the musician playing it, but it never hurts to give musicians a little help creating unique sounds. That's why technology start-up ROLI recently unveiled a new type of instrument that blends the form of a standard piano with the electronic customization of a digital controller. The company's Seaboard GRAND is a keyboard that features flexible keys that allow the player to adjust each note in real-time.Read More

Music

Peugeot Design Lab's piano of the future

Just like BMW with its DesignworksUSA creative consultancy that churns out non-automotive products ranging from computer mice to bicycles, Peugeot has launched the Peugeot Design Lab with a similar bent. The first product to come out of the studio is a futuristic baby grand piano designed for French piano manufacturers Pleyel that looks like it could beat my first car over a quarter mile.Read More

Wearables

Vibrating musical glove improves sensation and mobility in spinal cord injury patients

Researchers at Georgia Tech have seen an improvement in sensation and movement in the hands of people with paralyzing spinal cord injury (SCI) after wearing a glove that helps them learn to play piano. The Mobile Music Touch (MMT) is a glove that helps them learn to play different songs by vibrating the wearer’s fingers to tell them which keys on a piano keyboard to play. The fact the improved sensation and motor skills occurred in individuals that had sustained their injury more than a year before the study is encouraging as most rehab patients see little improvement after such a period.Read More

Music

Taking the lid off the Piano Box 12-note paper synth

Last year, Portugal's Catarina Mota was part of a New York hackerspace team that created a toy piano made from Jell-O (and some electronics) for a competition in Brooklyn, NY. Being a lover of mixing electronics with low-tech materials like fabric and paper, she has now created a paper box that opens up to reveal a 12-key touch piano/synthesizer sporting some cool LED light action. The Piano Box is built around an Arduino Mega board running the CapSense and Tone libraries, and features twin speakers, capacitive keys made from paper-covered copper tape, and some custom code that's available for free download to allow anyone to make their own paper synth. Read More

Wrist "piano" puts music at your fingertips

We've all drummed our fingers when impatient or bored, but the arrival of a wrist-mounted finger "piano" from Japan could change all that in a snap. It looks more like an EKG for your hand than a musical instrument but comes with a full octave of range - one note for each finger and three on the wrist unit.Read More

Music Feature

A closer look at Don Gilmore's self-tuning piano system

A few years ago Gibson began introducing some clever new technology to a select few guitars which automatically tuned the instrument and kept it there (seen most recently in the gorgeous Firebird X). I think that it's fair to say that robot tuning has not quite been a phenomenal success, perhaps due to the fact that tuning six strings only takes a few seconds and doesn't require any specialist training. That's certainly not true of the piano, which has more than 200 strings divided between 88 keys and its tuning is, for the most part, gratefully handed over to the experienced ear of a professional technician. In the 1990s, Kansas City mechanical engineer and classically-trained pianist Don A Gilmore created a mechanical self-tuning device for the piano. From there he went on to develop a thermal system that can bring the whole instrument to tune within a minute.Read More

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