The concept of playing the piano with eyes only gives a whole new meaning to the term “sight reading.”
The ability to play a musical instrument not only aids children in cognitive development and self-expression, it also makes them look pretty cool. Now, kids with limited physical mobility could soon be able to actualize their dreams of becoming a rock star by way of Oculus technology.
Similar gear is all the rage for video games, with gamers chomping at the bit to step into the newest 3-D worlds that boast 100 degree fields of view. But Fove, a Tokyo-based startup, has plans beyond allowing consumers to virtually experience killing a zombie or scaling a treacherous mountainside. They’ve reconfigured eye tracking to create what they call a “universal piano,” which allows even those who cannot use their arms or hands to play the piano.
With cleverly titled Eye Play the Piano, a child’s eyes become their hands. Sporting a headset that covers their eyes, a budding musician blinks at notes that appear visually. These blinks match up with its corresponding note on the piano to create single and full chord tones.
And it works. Fove and University of Tsukuba’s Special Needs Education School for the Physically Challenged partnered up to debut some hands-free tunes just in time for Christmas, The Guardian reports. Student Kota Numajir accompanied a choir of singers for a rendition of “Joy To The World” after just four months of practicing.
Now Fove is looking to expand to as many as 135 schools that cater to those with physical impairments in Japan. Looking for donations through crowdfunding site with JustGiving, Fove estimates they need about 1.5 million yen (roughly $13,000) to support every child’s musical inclinations.
Learn more about Eye Play the Piano at their site and by watching the video below.
Top photo courtesy of Eye Play the Piano’s YouTube Channel