A new “bite splint”, which is operated by placing it in the mouth, could make it possible for those without use of their legs/feet to control the damper (sustain) pedal on a piano.
For more than 20 years, there have been electromagnetic pedal controls for paraplegic pianists – mostly accident victims – that were invented by Bayreuth piano manufacturer Steingraeber & SÃƒÂ¶hne and are custom made.
Pulse generators such as light sensors, headrests, back cushions, neck braces, and mouth tubes make it possible for disabled pianists to play pieces that include pedal work, but the magnets only allow the pedal to be switched on or off.
Heidelberg Univeristy researcher Ing RÃƒÂ¼diger Rupp and team developed a bite splint with a pressure-sensitive sensor that the pianist can hold in his mouth to control the pedal. It uses a highly sensitive strength or pressure sensor, embedded in the chewing surface of a bite splint attached to the upper jaw. It works wirelessly, without any visible cables or devices.
“The disabled patient can thus control the entire range of pedal action – including intermediate positions and the speed with which the pedal is depressed,” explained Rupp.
No word on when the device might be commercially available.