Once upon a time grand pianos were a feature in nearly every stately home, but now, modern equivalents of keyboards and electric pianos that are more affordable and accessible have replaced them in most of those stately homes.
Speaking of modern equivalents of pianos, if anyone ever told you that you could line up a couple of bananas and create music, you’d think it was a bad joke. Well, not to a couple of students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, as they have created the world’s first banana and for that matter "fruit" piano.
The device itself, known as MakeyMakey, in pictures released by the creators has a series of bananas, six to be precise, lined up and connected by a series of wires and when pressed, they play a note, much like any key on a piano.
As astounding as it may sound, the MakeyMakey isn’t just a parlor trick, but honest to goodness science, as creators Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum endeavored to make touchpads out of everyday objects - something that had recently been created by Disney.
The MakeyMakey is quite a simple device, using only a handful of gadgets to create a piano of the bananas. The MakeyMakey itself requires alligator clips that connect the bananas to a tailor-made circuit board that is Rosenbaum and Silver made, known as a Makey board, which then connects to a USB cable that connects this entire circuit to a PC or laptop, providing an electric current. The Makey board acts as a "standard computer keyboard," picking up the impressions on the bananas.
The creators say that the whole idea behind the MakeyMakey was to help people "see the world around them as a construction kit," and the MakeyMakey is entirely adaptable in this regard as instead of bananas or fruits, it can be hooked up to any object, even human beings or animals, with Silver, who has used the device on his cat, saying, "Cats are conductive on their foot pads, their ears, their nose, and their mouth. But their fur is not conductive."
The creators added that the device is entirely safe as the current passing through the circuit is negligible and that fuses are incorporated into the circuit to ensure safety. Silver also added that the MakeyMakey has vast potential for a variety of practical uses, saying, "A father is currently turning it into a computer interface for his son who is suffering from cerebral palsy. We call this Hackcess," and Rosenbaum added, "It's easy for kids to get turned off by science and maths, because of the way it is taught. We wanted to make it easier for people to use engineering as a tool to fuel creativity."