Touchkeys are sensor overlays that attach to any keyboard. They enable pianists to create sounds that are typically attributed to stringed instruments such that instead of just pressing the keys, the pianist can waggle, vibrate, or change the timbre. Each key is fitted with sensors that can detect touch, giving the player the ability to create the sounds and pitch of string instruments foreign to the traditional piano. The creator plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign later this month.
Andrew McPherson equipped his keys with 26 sensors enabling them to read his fingers’ touch like a smartphone would. Being able to read his fingers’ position enables the instrument to respond by bending the pitch or doing a vibrato.
We love this innovation not only because of how it augments an instrument, but because most producers that work “in the box” (i.e. without analog instruments) often complain about the sound quality of plug-ins and filters when it comes to recreating violin or guitar tones. This innovation brings us nearer to making digital compositions have the same expressive quality of their analog counterparts.