Two German pianist-researchers have developed a learning system that combines a standard electric piano keyboard with a color projection screen on which blocks, representing notes, stream towards the appropriate keys.
University of Ulm researchers and pianists Katja Rogers and Amrei Röhlig have created a new method of piano learning that may look familiar to certain gamers: Their Projected Instrument Augmentation system (PIANO) consists of a color projection screen attached to a standard electronic piano keyboard. On this screen, blocks of different colors and lengths representing notes stream down on lines that “connect” to the keys, indicating which should be played and how. When the system is in practice mode, it highlights incorrectly-played notes in red.
What’s the Big Idea?
The way PIANO works is similar to the interface found in the game Rock Band 3, in which a display streams notes toward a much-smaller keyboard. University of Ulm researcher Florian Schaub, who presented the system at last month’s Ubicomp conference, says that new players had their doubts at first “but then were really impressed by how quickly they could play relatively well.” However, London piano teacher Lucy Smith remains skeptical: “This may improve technical skill but…[i]t does not allow for an individual’s interpretation of the music.”
Researchers have come up with a printing process involving a special silver-based conductive ink that can deposit itself to paper. For home hobbyists, it could bridge the gap between a plastic casing and a working electronic device.