Thanks to their versatility, printed electronics are booming. On our blog we have already shown how they can be used in the medical field, to prevent accidents, to solve crimes or to generate power. Who would have thought that they also are able to spread music throughout the world?

Printed Sensor Paste’s Sound of Music

Hoffmann + Krippner makes it possible with their sensor paste technology based on a conductive, pressure-sensitive material, which can be printed onto a PCB board. When putting pressure on it, a small deformation appears and triggers a change of the electrical resistance. As a result, an analog signal emerges that can be analyzed to provide input and control for several musical as well as non-musical applications.

This is where Alpha Pianos GmbH’s founder Mario Aiwasian comes into play. The piano manufacturer commissioned Hoffmann + Krippner to customize their technology to Alpha’s needs, allowing them to replace the long strings inside a piano with electronic strain gage sensors. Behaving just like common piano strings, these sensors can measure the force of the keystrikes and the resistance at the point of attack in order to determine the volume.

Improving Audio and Electronic Equipment

Among its many benefits is that the technology combines the advantages of electric and acoustic pianos. Although it makes pianos as compact as electric ones, the keys still have the same look and feel as acoustic pianos. This enables pianists to easily take their instruments with them on their journeys, which has been a major challenge to them previously. Additionally, the transportation costs are significantly lower and the keyboard is extremely robust: No matter how rough the piano is shocked during shipping, the sound of the individual keys stays the same.

But there is even more to Hoffmann + Krippner’s strain gage technology: It can be used in a wide spectrum of audio and electronic equipment such as electronic drum pads, electric guitars, special effect boxes, DJ consoles, or audio mixing suites.

When Print Meets Music

In general, the whole printing industry is closely tied to the music business. Recently, sound artist Michael Ridge demonstrated that Britain’s new fiver is able to play vinyl records, thanks to its durability. Or think of Novalia’s BadaBoomBox, a Bluetooth paper speaker and – of course – our drupa song! 😉

All the examples mentioned prove that the printing industry enters so many and diverse areas. And this is exactly what makes it unique, isn’t it? What other examples of this phenomenon do you know? We are looking forward to your opinion in the comment section below!