More feedback from an electronic piano

Are your electronic pianos lacking "soul"?

Problem: Electronic piano lack of vibration feedback
Electronic pianos are great to play in apartments because they can be completely silent if the player uses headphones. However, this silence also limits the finger feedback as compared to a mechanical piano and makes it have less of a “soul”. While Kawai CA98 pianos, for example, have a mechanical sound board, this sound board only gives vibration feedback to the fingers when in loudspeaker mode.

Embodiment: Note vibration feedback
As a key on the electronic keyboard is played, one or more actuators capable of creating vibrations, placed on the keyboard near the keys, allow for the vibrations to travel to the keys. As the electronic keyboard is played, the vibrations give tactile feedback to the user. The frequency spectrum of the vibrations can be deducted from measuring the vibrations of a mechanical piano as the various keys are depressed and can vary with strength of the depression; alternatively, the frequency spectrum can be altered to create a different user experience perhaps more similar to the feedback in a video game.

The frequency spectrum feedback can also be coupled to a music score so that incorrect notes get a different feedback spectrum than correct notes.

The frequency spectrum could also include a particular signal that can be turned on whenever the key is depressed all the way to give feedback to the player to not depress the keys all the way.

This setup is not limited to keyboards but would also apply to other instruments such as electric violins, electric drums etc. The strength of the vibrations can be adjusted with a vibration volume control.

By Eugen Tarnow, PhD (MIT)

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