Session B: 10:45AM – 12:15PM

Interdisciplinary. Session B – Poster Presentations, Ballroom, Union

SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Ballroom, A. Ray Olpin University Union


Alternative, Ergonomic Music Keyboard Designs Suit More People
Christine Schmidt, Salt Lake Community College
Anita Riddle, Salt Lake Community College
Sierra Schmidt, Salt Lake Community College

Karson Spencer, Salt Lake Community College

Faculty Mentor: Nick Safai, Salt Lake Community College

SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)

Undergraduate students are creating innovative designs for electronic music keyboards that suit more people and offer better ergonomics. This collaborative project, originally contrived and led by a music student, motivated engineering students to contribute to designs, marketing, and presentations. This is one of two unrelated projects by this undergraduate student research group. A standard piano keyboard has 88 keys laid out in a flat plane. Many pianists practice hours per day and suffer from repetitive stress injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, some compositions are unplayable for some people if their hands are too small. Just as with computer keyboards, alternative shapes of keyboards could help musicians who suffer from carpal tunnel. Alternative sizes of keyboards have been produced; however, they are simply a scaling down of the current keyboard design. In this project, students worked together to design alternative geometry of musical keyboards to fit more human hands and to provide better ergonomics. Students first studied keyboards details of Yamaha digital pianos. Digital piano sounds do not come from a hammer hitting a long string, as they do from conventional or “acoustic” pianos. Digital piano sounds result from sophisticated music sampling and computer modeling. Because a digital piano has no hammers nor strings, there are fewer restrictions on the design of the input device. New keyboard designs in this project include angled and semi-spherical shaped input devices to play a digital piano, MIDI controller, or synthesizer.




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Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research 2023 - Program Copyright © 2023 by Office of Undergraduate Research is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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