Volkswagen boffins turn staircase into giant working piano keyboard

Stairway to heaven?

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Can’t be bothered taking the stairs or putting your rubbish in the bin? You might change your mind when you see how electronics have been used to create a set of musical stairs and a ‘bottomless’ bin.

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Car firm Volkswagen recently teamed up with some designers to transform a set of steps at a subway in Stockholm into, well, a giant musical keyboard not too dissimilar from those played by Tom Hanks in flick Big.

The subway keys don’t appear to light-up, but each plays an individual note every time someone steps on them.

Not into walking? How about chucking your rubbish into a bin that makes it sound as though your Coke can and chip papers are falling down a bottomless well?

That’s what Volkswagen’s other technical innovation does.

The bin also makes other random sounds too, we should point out.

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Reports as to why exactly Volkswagen chose to make a set of hi-tech stairs and a musical bin are mixed, but the reasoning seems to lie in finding ways of encouraging more people to use stairs – rather than take the escalator – and to put rubbish into bins instead of the nearest hedge.

Whatever the reasoning, the ‘experiments’ make great videos. And they seem to work. ®

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