Take a piano. Strap a projector above it. Build a Guitar Hero-esque interface that shows upcoming notes, and project it down onto the Piano’s top surface and keys. What do you get?
The piano instructor of the freakin’ future. Or, at least, a piano instructor that won’t yell at you and make you wish you decided to stick with soccer after all.
Highlighted in a video by NewScientist this morning, the Projected Instrumented Augmentation System is a project built by a team out of Germany’s Ulm University. Combining the aforementioned projection setup with logic that detects what you’re playing, the system is able to illuminate mis-pressed keys, and can move the song’s notes along at your pace.
Yeah, yeah. This might not teach you to actually play the piano — at least, not without lugging a big ol’ projector with you everywhere or memorizing everything you want to play. It certainly won’t teach you how to read sheet music. But it would help you get more comfortable poundin’ away at the old ivories, and help you learn to contort your hands into the many crazy shapes that piano playing requires. Plus, it probably feels pretty awesome to play along with.
This certainly isn’t the first time we’ve seen piano playing gamified, with companies like Konami (with Keyboard Mania), Harmonix (with Rock Band 3) and to some extent Smule (with Magic Piano for iPad) having toyed with the concept in their own ways. But this is the first time I’ve seen it mashed up directly onto the piano — and man, does that look rad.
If you’ve got a MIDI keyboard and are looking for something sort of similar (albeit without the crazy projection setup), check out Synthesia.