Innovations That Matter

Self-learning automaton piano plays requests from Twitter

Publishing & Media

Digital Kitchen has created the Stanley Piano, which is able to play tracks requested on Twitter, as well as learn the ones it doesn't know.

Twitter is no stranger to the music world, with stars such as Justin Bieber and Katy Perry using the platform to connect with fans and the UK’s Royal Opera House even creating a Twitter Opera. Now Digital Kitchen has created the Stanley Piano, which is able to play tracks requested on the social networking site without help from a human performer. The piano is a traditional upright model that has been modified to read digital MIDI files, which contain the musical data for a particular song and trigger valves to play the keys at the right time. The instrument is also connected to Stanford, a custom moderation tool that scans digital feeds, such as Twitter streams, and sorts requests made to @stanleypiano into a queue. As the piano was one of the attractions at the Capitol Hill Block Party event between 20 and 22 July, its repertoire included tracks by each of the artists performing at the festival. Requesters were notified via Twitter when their song was about to be played, allowing them to make their way to the piano or watch the livestream from the Stanley Piano website. However, if a track is not already loaded, Stanley Piano will attempt to learn it by scanning the web for available MIDI files. Stanley Piano is yet another example of connecting web interaction to real world events, although following its appearance at the Capitol Hill Block Party, it is unclear when its next performance will be. How else could social media be integrated into real world performances? Spotted by: Murray Orange



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