Pocket piano takes out top prize for young inventor

(ABC News) ABC Radio Melbourne

By

Fiona Pepper

Updated

February 13, 2017 15:48:12

Video: Justin Mitchell plays his pocket piano.
it gives them a creative thing to do.”And I’d like to see it in the pockets of everyone.” (ABC Radio Melbourne: Fiona Pepper)
The 14-year-old was awarded first prize in the BHP Billiton Science and Engineering Awards for student engineering and will now represent Australia at the world’s biggest science and invention fair in the United States later this year.Justin’s pocket-sized piano features 27 instrument settings with a one-octave scale that can be modulated up or down in pitch.”I wanted to be able to play my music wherever I went and so I wouldn’t be limited to having to lug around a big instrument or having to only play piano when I’m at home,” he said.Synthetic took three weeks to build and the keyboard is made with electronically conductive paint which means it responds to touch.Justin also learned coding in order to create the instrument which he hoped was more portable than a traditional keyboard.Creative pocket entertainmentAnd while the current model is a prototype, he will continue to develop the design.”The future model would be printed into the hoodie pocket, making it truly wearable.”Justin said he believed his invention had greater applications for professional musicians given its compact nature.”They could plug it into editing software to do composition if they wanted to,” he said.The year nine student said if the invention gained traction, he’d look to mass produce it in the hope it could influence the way people used technology.”I think it would really change the future in a way, in that it would stop people always pulling out their phones … A Melbourne year nine student has developed a piano that can be played inside a pocket, earning him Australia’s top student inventor’s prize.Justin Mitchell from St Kevin’s College combined his love of music and science to develop Synthetic, a wearable music maker that fits inside a hoodie pocket. Photo:
Justin Mitchell has invented a piano that can fit inside a pocket.
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