|Title||EYE PLAY THE PIANO|
|Brand||THE UNIVERSITY OF TSUKUBA’S SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOLS|
|Product / Service||THE UNIVERSITY OF TSUKUBA’S SPECIAL NEEDS SCHOOLS|
|Category||A02. Use of Live Shows/Concerts/Festivals|
|Entrant||HAKUHODO KETTLE Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Entrant Company||HAKUHODO KETTLE Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Advertising Agency||HAKUHODO KETTLE Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Production Company||AID-DCC Osaka, JAPAN|
|Production Company 2||INVISIBLE DESIGN LAB Fukuoka, JAPAN|
|Production Company 3||TOKYO Tokyo, JAPAN|
|Shota Hatanaka||HAKUHODO Kettle||Creative Director|
|Masashi Ohashi||AID-DCC Inc.||Technical director/Programmer|
|Kenjiro Matsuo||Invisible Designs Lab.||Technical director/Sound producer|
|Yuri Morimoto||AID-DCC Inc.||Designer|
|Takayuki Kitai||AID-DCC Inc.||Motion designer|
|Yoshiaki Kajiyashiki||AID-DCC Inc.||Programmer|
|Masaru Kinoshita||AID-DCC Inc.||System Engineer|
|Toshiyuki Takei||TOKYO /TAIYOKIKAKU co.,ltg||Producer|
|Kazuma Kitada||TOKYO /TAIYOKIKAKU co.,ltg||Director|
|Masayoshi Takayanagi||TOKYO /TAIYOKIKAKU co.,ltg||Production Manager|
|Rintaro Kozasa||TOKYO /TAIYOKIKAKU co.,ltg||Production Manager|
|Miwa Onishi||TAIYOKIKAKU co.,ltg||Production Manager|
|Takami Yuasa||Blue Bayou||Sound|
|Kota Numajiri||Piano Player|
Kota Numajiri is a 16-years-old student who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a disease that affects muscular development in the arms and legs. He has loved music since he was a little child, and his dream was to play piano by himself. The development for the universal piano system,“Eye Play the Piano,” was brought up with the idea of coupling an eye-tracking system to recognize the direction of eyes through the virtual reality headset with an instrument so the user could play the instrument without their hands or arms but instead only with their eyes. Eye Play the Piano is an unprecedented, specialized and universal instrument aimed towards those who have physical handicaps and are not able to move their hands or feet. This system not only left an impression in Japan but also left an impression across the entire world.
In Japan there are over one million seven hundred thousand (1,700,000) people with physical disabilities and three hundred (300) schools for the physically disabled where children with physical disabilities attend. Children with physical handicaps who have difficulty with the movement of their hands or feet often have limitations with regards to“individual expression.” The University of Tsukuba’s Special Needs Schools, who operate various schools across the country for the physically disabled, declares "expanding the possibilities of children" as their educational philosophy and aims to provide an educational environment where handicapped students can express their imagination freely.
Eye Play the Piano gave an opportunity for disabled people who have lost their arms or legs, or people with muscular diseases to try a new experience, that is to play musical instruments freely without using their body. This project played an important role in spreading the uppermost notion of education, that is “to open the children to infinite possibilities.” As a result, this project has won the media publicity of over 9 million dollars. By making the Eye Play the Piano application an open source application, anyone around the world will be able to experience the system if they have access to the head mount display and musical instrument. Moreover, through charity fundraising, we were able to donate the device to other 53 schools. Furthermore, the Ministry of Education has started to fully introduce the system to expressive education, which has advanced the future of special education in Japan.
We developed the universal piano system,“Eye Play the Piano,” by using an eye-tracking system within a head mount display so the piano could be played without the use of hands or arms but rather by blinking on the desired key to play that note. The arrangement of the standard keyboard, which is designed to be played by hand has been reassembled to an interface which can be played by “sight.” A very rich and varied musical performance can be obtained through the combined application of the mono-tone mode and harmonic mode. The project to use the system in a musical performance was started alongside Kota Numajiri, a student of this school who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and had never played a musical instrument. In December of 2014, after 4 months of practicing, he played the piano for their first ever Christmas concert at this school.