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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.

Can't see the video? Download Flash Player from Adobe.com

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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