HackPrinceton: Piano Stairs!

princeton piano

It was Hack.Princeton this weekend and [Bonnie] and [Erica] threw together this great interactive portable piano!

The setup is very simple using six LED flashlights, and six photoresistors. An Arduino Uno reads in the values from the photoresistors and parses them to a nearby Raspberry Pi which then creates the sounds. The system even automatically calibrates itself when turned on, adjusting to the ambient light conditions. They made the project for the Hackathon and after a short scare of having to move it to another staircase for the demo, they took home 2nd place in the hardware category!

Stick around after the break to see it in action — this would make a great school project to get kids interested in hacking!

Looking for more piano hacks? How about a Banana Piano? No? What about a pair of gloves with no physical piano? Or maybe one written down on paper with a pencil?

12 thoughts on “HackPrinceton: Piano Stairs!

  1. I like it :-) I know what would also be fun using an Ultrasonic Sensor‎ changing the pitch by the depth you step like the floor in despicable me 2 ;-)

  2. Related thing that happened at Hack.Princeton: “Please don’t sleep lying down.” Apparently they hadn’t gotten all the permissions they thought they had. As such, there was no arrangement for sleeping areas and to keep up appearances nobody was allowed to sleep lying down.


  3. The Boston Museum of Science has had one of these for as long as I can remember.
    I don’t see it as too much of a liability issue…

    1. You might not, but this is the university that won’t let us put coat hooks or posters on our bedroom doors because we might forget that they’re a “means of egress.” (I’m completely serious.)

      1. That’s the reason they give but that doesn’t mean it’s the real reason. A lot of times university admins will tell staff to tell students to do/not do something but not say why, so staff will take a wild-ass guess at the reason. Other times they just make up a reason pertaining to fire code or something like that, assuming students will be less likely to completely ignore fire code than something like “we’re tired of repairing holes in doors.”

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