Pedal assist device for the disabled pianist
Several years ago I developed this system for people who cannot use their right pedal when playing the piano. This may be because of physical limitations such as a paralysed leg, a spinal cord injury or ALS. The system is built into their own instrument and adapted to their specific needs and abilities.
The system consists of a solenoid (electromagnet), a control unit for setting the correct forces and sizes depending on the type and brand of the instrument, a 24 volt DC power supply, and a cable set. The aim is to enable the player to use the dampers with another part of the body than the right foot. How this is done varies. The dampers can be used for example by:
- With the knee.
- Squeezing a small ball with the mouth. That is, the lips squeeze a small, flexible plastic ball (pipette balloon of 10 mm). Then, through a tube, a pressure-sensitive switch is activated (0.006 amperes, 0.1 volts) which controls the system.
- A tipping switch in a headband.
The photo shows a solenoid built into an upright piano. If this electromagnet is activated, the core moves upwards and the pedal rod is pressed upward, just as a regular pedal would do. Because instruments are constructed differently, the methods of fixing varies also. With grand pianos, for instance, the solenoid presses against a lever which is located on the underside of the grand piano.
In all cases, the dampers can still be controlled with the foot.
The system can be built into all kind of upright pianos and grand pianos.
Once you have practised using the new system for a while, it can be adapted to make playing even easier and more convenient.
The follow-up needed for these adjustments is included in the price.
Price on request.
Not included is the development of a completely new system.
If I have to travel far to reach you, I cannot always come immediately to solve problems; it can happen that I will be sending you components and providing support by telephone, email or in writing.
Video courtecy of Alain Nouchy, Fano, Pesaro e Urbino, Italy.
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