The Tough Pi-ano needs to live up to its name as a rugged, resilient instrument for a very good reason: kids.
Brian ’24 Hour Engineer’ McEvoy made the Tough Pi-ano as a gift to his aunt and uncle, for use in their centre for children with learning and developmental disabilities such as autism and Down’s syndrome. This easily accessible device uses heavy-duty arcade buttons and has a smooth, solid wood body with no sharp corners.
The Pi-ano has four octaves of buttons, each controlled by a Raspberry Pi Zero. Each Zero is connected to a homebrew resistor board; this board, in turn, is connected to the switches that control the arcade buttons.
The Tough Pi-ano is designed specifically for musical therapy, so it has a clean and uncomplicated design. It has none of the switches and sliders you’d usually expect to find on an electronic keyboard.
The simple body, with its resilient keys, allows the Tough Pi-ano to stand up to lots of vigorous playing and forceful treatment, providing an excellent resource for the centre.