Connected Nation - Pitch: TouchKeys - Andrew McPherson, Queen Mary University of London
Supplementary content information
How do you create a novel yet familiar musical instrument? TouchKeys transforms the piano-style keyboard into an expressive multi-touch control surface. Capacitive touch sensors on the surface of every key measure the position of each finger, allowing the player to intuitively add vibrato, pitch bends, timbre changes and other expressive effects just by moving the fingers on the key surfaces.
You must select the video player for these keys to function.
|Spacebar||Play/Pause when the seek bar is selected. Activate a button if a button has focus.|
|Play/Pause Media Key on keyboards||Play / Pause.|
|K||Pause/Play in player.|
|Stop Media Key on keyboards||Stop.|
|Next Track Media Key on keyboards||Moves to the next track in a playlist.|
|Left/Right arrow on the seek bar||Seek backward/forward 5 seconds.|
|J||Seek backward 10 seconds in player.|
|L||Seek forward 10 seconds in player.|
|Home/End on the seek bar||Seek to the beginning/last seconds of the video.|
|Up/Down arrow on the seek bar||Increase/Decrease volume 5%.|
|Numbers 1 to 9 on the seek bar (not on the numeric pad)||Seek to the 10% to 90% of the video.
|Number 0 on the seek bar (not on the numeric pad)||Seek to the beginning of the video.
|Number 1 or Shift+1||Move between H1 headers.|
|/||Go to search box.|
|F||Activate full screen. If full screen mode is enabled, activate F again or press escape to exit full screen mode.|
|C||Activate closed captions and subtitles if available. To hide captions and subtitles, activate C again.|
|Shift+N||Move to the next video (If you are using a playlist, will go to the next video of the playlist. If not using a playlist, it will move to the next YouTube suggested video).|
|Shift+P||Move to the previous video. Note that this shortcut only works when you are using a playlist.|
Andrew McPherson, Queen Mary University of London
My name is Andrew McPherson. I am a senior lecturer in the Centre for Digital Music, that’s a research group within the Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London, and I will be exhibiting something called TouchKeys which is new musical instrument. Normally I’d show a quick video but you’ll be able to see it in a moment.
Basically, throughout human history people have been using technology to make music, and music has likewise been a powerful driver of new technology. A piece of technology that’s been around for hundreds of years now is, of course, the keyboard and it has to be doing something right because there are millions of people who have spent years of their life learning to play the piano, synthesiser and other keyboard instruments.
Now what you run into is that the keyboard has certain limitations, which is that once you play a note you don’t have a lot of convenient options for changing its sound before you release it, compared to say a violin where things like vibrato and pitch bends are very natural. So TouchKeys is a new sensor technology, it uses capacitive touch sensing, it goes on the surface of any keyboard and basically transforms it into an expressive, multi-touch control surface. So the idea is that it measures where the fingers are on the keys and that just by moving the fingers around you can change the pitch, the volume, the timbre of any of the notes.
Now I’ll let you try it for yourself after this but I developed this over several years at Queen Mary with support from EPSRC, AHRC and others, and in 2013 I ran a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign which exceeded its fundraising goal and got this out into the world, and into the hands of musicians; and more recently I’ve been spinning it out into an independent company, with a view towards hitting a larger segment of the keyboard market. I think I will stop there and I invite you to try it, outside there. Thank you.