Airpiano gets some airtime
You and I know what a piano is, but an Airpiano? Come on now, from its name alone, how do you think the musical instrument is able to function? Does it mean you will need to blow into some sort of tube before pressing a single key on the piano will emanate sound? Or fast forward to the 22nd century, will this piano float on air thanks to a built-in hovering mechanism? Well, it is neither of the above, although seeing the Airpiano being played in the hands of the master is truly a sight to behold as it gives you the feeling as though you were watching a graceful martial artist, musical conductor or mysterious magician at work here. Why is it called the Airpiano? The answer is simple, really, as it features an innovative interface that is activated and controlled by moving a hand in mid-air above the flat display surface – as long as you remain within range of a sensor array matrix. This is only made possible thanks to custom software, enabling one to have a huge library of tones and sounds at a one’s disposal.
There is a total of eight Infrared proximity sensors together, all of them spread horizontally across the surface of the Airpiano in order to let you play three notes depending on your vertical hand position. These sensors have the option to be specially programmed to provide up to eight control faders for altering volume, pitch, and filters among others. Custom software paves the way for MIDI mapping while Open Sound Control message assignment ensures you will be able to project a vast soundscape at your spatial command. Should there arise the need for confirmation of user action, LED lights located at the surface of the instrument comes in handy.
While it might resemble the Theremin, the Airpiano’s inventor has this to say about his pet project. “What makes it so different from a Theremin, besides the technology, is the concept of interaction. Playing a Theremin is hard to learn since every slight movement of the hand changes the pitch/volume of the generated sound. It also lacks visual feedback. The idea of the Airpiano is to keep things as simple as possible in order to achieve full control over the instrument.”
Expect a limited run of production devices to hit the market sometime in September or October for a yet undisclosed price.